Iran is under a heap of United Nations sanctions for its rogue nuclear program, but that’s apparently no bar at the UN itself to Iran doing business as usual. Later this month, the top job is coming open at the UN’s Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization. Among the six candidates vying for the slot, there’s a nominee of Iran: Mohammad Saeid Noori Naeini. Already, Tehran has been savoring his prospects — here’s an item from May on “Iran Moves Closer to FAO Presidency”
Does Iran’s man have a chance? The new director-general will be elected by secret ballot at the FAO’s 37th conference in Rome, due to be held June 25-July 2. Naeini is running against candidates from Austria, Brazil, Indonesia, Iraq and Spain. But he has an inside edge, by way of having worked for 11 years at UN food agencies in Rome, including a stint a few years ago in which he chaired the 49-member governing council of the FAO itself.
If elected, Naeini would in theory be serving in an independent capacity, as a senior UN official, not as an envoy of Iran. That, however, is one of those laughable UN fictions. Naeini’s resume lists a Ph.D., years ago, from Cornell University in the U.S., but his home address is in Tehran. To run for the post, Naeini had to be nominated by the government of Iran — scroll down in this UN document to see the official letter of nomination from Iran’s foreign ministry. And here’s his web site. Naeini is the candidate of the same Iranian regime whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, came to a UN food summit in Rome in 2008 and held a news conference there at which he denounced the U.S. as a power with “devilish motivations,” called Israel “a fabricated entity…doomed to go,” and celebrated his vision of a future in which, Iran triumphant, food and fuel would be handled, with apocalyptic purity, by “righteous and justice-seeking managers.”
Of course, an FAO run by the man from Iran could still find a role for the U.S. That would be the usual U.S. role at the UN of picking up the biggest share of the tab. According to U.S. administration figures on U.S. taxpayer contributions to the UN, the U.S. in 2009 chipped in almost $260 million to the FAO, which amounted to a whopping 25% of the FAO’s budget. … Anyone bothered yet?