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Beyond Strauss-Kahn, to the IMF and Iran

Who is Abbas Mirakhor? When he signed that letter to Strauss-Kahn in 2007, he was Iran's representative at the IMF. Iran, it seems, was not only a member of the executive board, but Iran's director was the point man of the board for communicating the terms of employment to the IMF's new boss. Never mind that the previous year, Iran's terror-sponsoring regime had already come under sanctions from the UN Security Council for its rogue nuclear program.

That's not remotely to suggest that Iran's Abbas Mirakhor hired Strauss-Kahn, or that Strauss-Kahn had any responsibility for who signed the letter spelling out his salary and perquisites. Mirakhor simply served as an important functionary in formalizing the terms of the deal. But it's a good example of the disturbing degree to which the UN and its related institutions, including the IMF, give a warm welcome -- in the name of "neutrality" -- to officials of regimes that actively seek to subvert the civilized order that the UN and IMF are supposed to promote. As with almost all these outfits, America is the biggest source of funding for the IMF. But it wasn't an American official who signed the letter spelling out for Strauss-Kahn the comfortable terms of his employment. It was Iran's main man at the IMF.

Mirakhor has since moved on, retiring from the IMF in 2008. There's a bio for him on the web which says he is now a professor at INCEIF, the Global University of Islamic Finance, in Malaysia (where he is described as having been the IMF's "Dean of the Board"). But Iran still holds one of the 24 seats on the IMF's executive board, and in that position its current IMF director, Jafar Mojarrad, represents not only Iran, but also Afghanistan, Algeria, Ghana, Morocco, Pakistan and Tunisia. Apparently these are the results that protocol and the IMF system tend to produce. Is it perhaps worth asking what else Iranian officials might have been doing, or signing, at the IMF? It is perhaps even worth asking if America, before lending more support to the IMF, ought to be seeking a change in the IMF system that confers such plums on Tehran?