Amid campaigning against Iran's appointment as chair of the UN Human Rights Council’s Social Forum, the Islamic Republic has gained another UN leadership position.
The regime was appointed Thursday as one of the vice-presidents of the UN General Assembly which will begin next September, drawing reactions from several members and dozens of activists. The body also appointed Iran’s envoy Heidar-Ali Balouji as the rapporteur of the Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Committee of the General Assembly and a member of the board of this committee.
The US mission in UN dissociated itself from the election and expressed its opposition to Iran's leadership throughout the UN system, saying: “Iran cannot act as an honest broker in its role as a Vice President of the General Assembly, because it has shown, time and time again, that it does not seek to enhance global peace and security, but rather works against it.”
After the election of the vice presidents of the 78th Session of the General Assembly, US Ambassador to the body, Chris Lu, said “Iran’s record, unfortunately, speaks for itself. It defies UN Security Council arms embargoes, violates the human rights of its own citizens, and exports violence and weapons, fostering insecurity and inciting violence throughout the Middle East and across the globe.”
Another US envoy, Robert Wood, referred to Iran’s persistent violations of UN Security Council resolution 2231, including pertaining to its ballistic missile program, its ongoing efforts to undermine international security, and its failure to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), underlining that “a representative of Iran’s government is unfit to serve in a leadership position within this committee, even if such a position is largely ceremonial.”
Israel’s Foreign Ministry also called the decision “shameful,” saying: “In addition to murdering its own citizens, attacking innocents around the world and racing towards a nuclear weapon with the goal of wiping Israel off the map, Iran will now serve in a senior UN position.”
“This is the same country that calls for the destruction of another member state of the organization it represents,” it added, referring to the Islamic Republic's repeated call that Israel must be obliterated from the face of the Earth.
Noting that such an appointment “defies all logic and reason,” the ministry added that it is “an insult to the millions of Iranians protesting for their basic freedoms and to the justice, peace and global stability that the UN is supposed to stand for.”
The decision has caused outrage among Iranian people and activists, such as opposition figure Nazanin Boniadi, who called it “an absolute disgrace."
In May, the appointment of Iran's UN ambassador Ali Bahraini to the chair of the UN Human Rights Council 2023 Social Forum also sparked much anger and indignation. The forum to be held in Geneva on November 2 and 3 will focus on the contribution of science, technology, and innovation to the promotion of human rights including in the context of post-pandemic recovery.
After launching a petition to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to cancel the appointment, UN Watch -- an independent human rights organization -- submitted a resolution to the UN to overturn the decision late in May.
Earlier in the week, a group of 26 Iranian rights groups expressed fury over the appointment, saying that according to the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, the violence of the security forces of the Islamic Republic during the nationwide protests led to the death of hundreds, including dozens of children and women, while hundreds of other protesters were seriously injured, and thousands were arrested.