Tuesday, July 17, 2012

United Nations arms control process descends into farce

A little more than a week after accusing Iran of supplying arms for Syria's bloody crackdown on democracy-minded rebels, the UN has given Tehran a key seat at negotiations for a global arms treaty.

The stunning appointment by member states attending the UN Conference of the Arms Trade Treaty in New York came last week, and is just the latest example of the world body appointing rogue and repressive regimes to leadership roles. The 15-nation committee to which Iran was appointed hopes to guide what could eventually become the first legally binding global treaty aimed at regulating the international trade of conventional arms.

Critics say asking Iran to help craft a treaty aimed at stopping arms proliferation to terrorist groups and rogue states makes a mockery of the talks. Just two weeks ago, the UN Security Council accused Tehran of shipping arms to Syria, and Iran is also suspected of hiding illegal nuclear weapons facilities from international watchdogs.

“It defies logic, morality and common sense for the UN to elect this same regime to a global post in the regulation of arms transfers.” - UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer

“Right after a UN Security Council report found Iran guilty of illegally transferring guns and bombs to Syria, which is now murdering thousands of its own people, it defies logic, morality and common sense for the UN to elect this same regime to a global post in the regulation of arms transfers,” UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer told FoxNews.com.

Talks are taking place throughout the month, with Argentina serving as president and the other 14 nations, including the U.S., Iran, China and Russia, as deputies, or vice presidents. The treaty would regulate conventional arms and not weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear, chemical or biological arms.

Any treaty would have to be ratified by the Senate in order to be enforceable against U.S. citizens or corporations. The talks have already raised concerns in the U.S. that an international pact could curb Americans' Second Amendment rights. The conference was backed by the Obama administration, in a reversal of the Bush administration, which had opposed a UN General Assembly resolution launching the treaty process in 2006.

Iran gloated about its appointment, with its news agencies IRNA and ISNA boasting about the Islamic Republic’s appointment as a “deputy” to the treaty talks, and the Tehran Times touting that Iran’s mission to the UN will be “assisting the president” of the conference in conducting business.

At the meeting in which Iran was named to the committee, no nations -- including the U.S. -- objected. But the U.S. State Department scrambled to play down the significance of the appointment, arguing there are safeguards protecting against any treaty not in the U.S. interest from being passed. 

More here

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