As long as America provides such toys as the United Nations, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might as well play with them — and this week, again, play he did.
Ahmadinejad has just treated himself to quite a week at the UN — speaking Tuesday at a planet-wide central planning “development” summit, and again on Thursday in the starting lineup of the General Assembly debate. He has used his UN access to Manhattan to dispense TV interviews, from ABC to CNN. He has hosted media gatherings and met with Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Ahmadinejad created this year’s special stir by using the UN podium to peddle propaganda about the 9/11 Islamist attacks, telling the world that a majority of Americans believe that “some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order to also save the Zionist regime.”
And at the UN, where Iran’s regime is in brazen violation of four Security Council sanctions resolutions on its nuclear program, officials have been falling all over themselves to make Ahmadinejad welcome. Friday’s Jerusalem Post carried a mind-bending story on “The ‘Zionist regime’ enters the UN’s Iranian underworld,” by an American reporter, Jordana Horn, who is accredited by the UN to cover this year’s General Assembly opening for the Jerusalem Post. Horn recounts how on Thursday she tried to attend an Ahmadinejad press conference — on UN premises. Let’s be clear about that: This was not at Ahmadinejad’s five-star hotel. This was on UN turf, where Iran’s regime so amply avails itself of the equal dignity accorded in theory to all nations. But in this case, Iran called the shots, and the UN fawned and scraped along. Horn was kicked out of the room, when Ahmadinejad’s security detail discovered she worked for the Jerusalem Post, a newspaper of the “Zionist entity.”
Meanwhile, the UN News Service — which is part of the UN, funded out of the UN budget, which is to say, paid for in substantial part by American taxpayers — has been cranking out press releases about Ahmadinejad. They take no account of the bloody, terror-based, sanctions-violating regime he represents. Instead, in lingo freighted with gravitas and respect, they report such items as: “Veto Power in Security Council must be scrapped, Iran’s leader says.” That’s the headline on a UN News Service press release summarizing Ahmadinejad’s speech, Sept. 11 conspiracy theories and all, to the General Assembly. The same UN News Service item concludes, straight-faced, “Mr. Ahmadinejad also said that Iran would host a conference next year to study both terrorism and the means to confront the problem.” (Gee, one has to wonder — will that include a roll-out of illicit Iranian nuclear weapons? Or perhaps some North Korean-engineered missile delivery systems?)
Who picks up the tab for the grand UN theater which hands Ahmadinejad this ample world stage? The UN actually has a bewildering multiplicity of budgets, which altogether have swollen to well over $20 billion, or roughly ten times the size of the UN’s “core” or regular budget. But how much each of the UN’s 192 member states kicks in for the core budget is a pretty good crude guide to how much each member state contributes overall. So let’s take a look at that.
For the 2009 “regular” UN budget, totaling $2.7 billion, America paid its usual 22% of the total, or the substantial sum of $598 million. Iran, with its rulers wallowing in some of the world’s biggest oil and gas reserves, paid dues totaling less than than 1/100th of America’s largesse, chipping in a meager $4.3 million.
As for Israel, whose reporters the UN is evidently willing at Iranian behest to exclude from press gatherings on UN premises, Israel with 1/10th the population of Iran, paid twice as much in dues, or $10.2 million. If you’d like a look at what the rest of the UN gang pays, here’s the full roster — where you can ponder such disparities as the oil-rich despotism of Libya’s Qaddafi paying less than half the amount rendered up by the miniature state of Luxembourg. All of this is dwarfed by the sums lavished on the UN by U.S. taxpayers — who, beyond the $598 million in core dues, shell out billions every year for the larger UN system (in which, as I keep trying to remind people, Iran sits on the governing boards of — to name just a few — UNICEF, the UN Environment Program, the World Food Program, and the UN’s flagship agency, the UN Development Program — as well as having acquired a seat earlier this year on the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women).
In this setup, Iran plays while America pays. Is this furthering the cause of world peace? You tell me.