Disarmament board chooses Iranian as vice chair

Mehdi Danesh-Yazdi says Israel's nuclear stockpile are among "the major sources of concern."

UN building 88 (photo credit: )
UN building 88
(photo credit: )
As the international community looks into ways of stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons, an Iranian representative was elected to be the vice chair of the UN's disarmament commission. The commission, which began its annual conference last week, was established by the UN General Assembly in the early 50's in order to promote disarmament and to review international treaties dealing with nuclear energy. The commission does not have any authority to enforce its decisions and is not connected to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is the international nuclear watchdog that is now investigating Iran's nuclear program and is expected to report to the UN Security Council by the end of the month. The new Iranian vice chair, Mehdi Danesh-Yazdi, who is also the country's ambassador to the UN, said last week that Iran will cooperate with the IAEA and will "seek an acceptable venue for holding transparent talks with interested parties." The ambassador, who is one of three vice-chairpersons, said during the meeting of the commission that Israel's nuclear stockpile is among "the major sources of concern with regard to global peace and security." The election of Iran to the senior post in the disarmament commission drew sharp criticism from US lawmakers and from Jewish organizations that are fighting against a nuclear Iran. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who heads the House subcommittee on the Middle East issued a statement in which she compared the decision to "appointing a serial killer to serve as a juror in a murder trial." Ros-Lehtinen added that choosing Iran to be the vice chair of the commission proves that the UN and the international community are "ineffective in preventing Iran from achieving nuclear capabilities." The American Jewish Congress' chairman Jack Rosen said that the vote in the disarmament committee amounts to "a rude slap in the face of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the UN Security Council."