Israel mum on Iran heading nuke commission

Israel, US did not exercise right to oppose Iran getting vice-chairmanship.

By NATHAN GUTTMAN
April 27, 2006 23:50
1 minute read.
Israel mum on Iran heading nuke commission

nuclear atomic globe 88. (photo credit: )

 
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Israel and the US did not oppose appointing Iran to serve as a vice chairman of the UN Disarmament Commission when the committee decided on the nomination two weeks ago. Though American lawmakers have criticized the UN for naming Iran to a leadership position in the international body in charge of nuclear disarmament, the US made no attempt to prevent the appointment. According to the UN, the Iran's nomination, along with seven other vice chairmen - among them Israel - was brought up at the opening meeting of the commission's annual session on April 10. Brenden Varma, a spokesman for the UN, said that the list of all eight vice chairmen, including Iran, was approved by acclamation. "Each country has the right to oppose any name on the list, but no one did so," Varma said. Representatives of Israel and the US were in the committee room at the time, but chose not to voice any opposition to the appointment of the Iranian ambassador to the UN to serve as vice chairman. Before the meeting convened, each regional group suggested two countries to serve. Israel was suggested by the Western Europe and Others group, and Iran was suggested by the regional group of Asia. The full list was then brought to the committee and approved by consensus. The nomination to leadership positions is valid for the period of the annual session of the commission, which will end this week. After the decision to choose Iran had been made public, several American lawmakers criticized the commission, denouncing the fact that a country actively pursuing nuclear weapons and defying the international community's demands was chosen to a leadership position of a body whose goal was to get rid of such weapons. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, head of the House subcommittee on the Middle East, compared the decision to "appointing a serial killer to serve as a juror in a murder trial." Sen. Norm Coleman called on the US administration to withhold funds from the Disarmament Commission because of the election of Iran representative. A spokesman for the US mission to the UN refused to comment on the issue. Israeli sources said that the Israeli representative did not intervene in the nominating process because the vice chairmen had been chosen in advance by the regional groups.

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