A few months ago, news bubbled up here and there in the press that Iran and Kuwait were vying to be First Committee rapporteur for the General Assembly’s 68th session — which just opened in Manhattan. But on Iran’s candidacy for rapporteur of the First Committee, things then went quiet. The UN does not tend to advertise the candidates for these elections. But the election itself is on the UN schedule for this Tuesday, Oct. 1. So I checked, and was told by a UN General Assembly spokesperson that this has turned into one of those elections in which there is a “clean slate” — meaning all the competing and horse-trading has already been sorted out behind the scenes, and there is only one candidate for each slot. That makes it hard to lose the election.
As it now stands, the sole candidates are: Libya for chair. Ecuador, Germany and Montenegro for vice chairs. And, as sole candidate for rapporteur, Iran.
This is worse than the fox reporting on the henhouse. For starters, it is one more front on which the UN, while sanctioning Iran via the Security Council, lends legitimacy to Iran by giving it slots that imply it is a member in good standing of the fabled international community. And then there’s the problem that Iran’s regime has become highly adept at exploiting its UN beachheads in ways profoundly unfriendly to the free world, notably Israel and the U.S. It was Iran’s deft moves within the First Committee, for instance, that produced the charade of a nuclear disarmament meeting, starring Rouhani, at the UN General Assembly opening last week. For more on the machinations, here’s my column at Forbes on “Iran, the UN’s New Authority on Nuclear Disarmament.”
Can Iran’s “election” on Tuesday as disarmament committee rapporteur be stopped? Probably not. But with stunts like this figuring as yet more UN business as usual, American taxpayers could surely be forgiven for wondering why they are expected to pour billions into the UN system every year, including 22% of the General Assembly’s more than $2.5 billion annual budget.