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Iran elected to top post at UN Arms Trade Treaty conference

Iran elected to top post at UN Arms Trade Treaty conference

Human rights group urge Ban Ki-moon to condemn "scandalous" election

Contact UN Watch in Geneva: media1@unwatch.org

GENEVA, July 8 - Iran was elected to a top post on the UN Arms Trade Treaty conference, revealed UN Watch today in an exclusive report. The Geneva-based human rights group is calling on UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who addressed the conference on the same day, to condemn the selection of the Tehran regime.

Although the U.N. conference website and summary fail to name the 15 members elected to the bureau on July 3rd, UN Watch has discovered that the countries elected to the five regional groups include Iran, Japan, and South Korea for the Asian group; Kenya, Egypt and Nigeria for Africa; Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Ukraine for Eastern Europe; Australia, Netherlands and Switzerland for the Western Europe & Others Group; and Mexico and two others for Latin America. (See U.N. webcast here, announcing election of Iran at minute 4:45.)

The United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, which opened last week and runs until July 27, promises to deliver a new agreement to regulate the transfer of arms.

“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 now elect this same regime to a global post in the regulation of arms transfers,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a non-governmental monitoring group based in Geneva.

"This is like choosing Bernie Madoff to police fraud on the stock market. And the U.N.'s scandalous choice of Iran is exactly why we fear that Syria's declared bid for a U.N. Human Rights Council seat is not impossible.

UN Watch called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who addressed the conference on the same day as the election, to condemn the decision to give Iran a position of responsibility in regulating the arms trade.

"He should remind the conference that the Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt its probited nuclear program, and that Iran continues to defy the international community through illegal arms shipments to the murderous Assad regime," said Neuer

"Syria continues to be the central party to illicit Iranian arms transfers," the Security Council report recently found, citing the discovery of Iranian shipments to Damascus of assault rifles, machineguns, explosives, detonators, 60mm and 120mm mortal shells and other items.

Neuer expressed concern that the UN's election of Iran "injects ambiguity about the U.N.'s position on illicit Iranian arms transfers, fuels Iranian propaganda, and grants international legitimacy to a regime that tortures student activists, hangs gays and subjugates women."

Iran is already boasting about the UN election in its state-controlled media.

IRNA announced that Iran was elected "as deputy for the talks to regulate global arms trade treaty. Some 193 participating countries unanimously voted in favor of Iran during the 4th day of the meeting." ISNA also ran the report. The Tehran Times declared that Iran "is assisting the president of the Arms Trade Treaty Conference in the general conduct of the business of the conference."

ENDS

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