Statement by Mark Kornblau, Spokesman, U.S. Mission to the United Nations, on the Selection of Iran to Serve as a Vice President to the Arms Trade Treaty Conference

Mark Kornblau
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY, United States
July 12, 2012


As Ambassador Don Mahley underscored today in the U.S. opening statement, Iran’s role as one of fourteen Vice Presidents at the Arms Trade Treaty Conference – while purely ceremonial – is nonetheless outrageous. Iran was selected to run on a closed slate of candidates put forward by the Asia Group, of which the United States is not a member. The U.S. has argued repeatedly and forcefully that countries like Iran that are under Security Council sanctions for weapons proliferation or massive human-rights abuses should be barred from any formal or ceremonial positions in UN bodies. It is incumbent upon regional groups to enforce this common-sense principle. We regret that on this occasion, the Asia Group did not do so. While, as a practical matter, the Vice President designation at the Arms Trade Treaty Conference has no impact whatsoever on the substance of the conference or our ability to advance and protect U.S. interests and values, it still makes a mockery of the Conference’s purposes and undermines the credibility of the United Nations.

The United States is second to none in combating Iran’s nuclear program and in standing firmly against its support for terrorism and egregious human rights abuses, including by imposing the most stringent domestic and international sanctions ever. Just this month, the U.S. and the EU implemented the latest set of devastating sanctions on Iranian oil. We have successfully fought to deny Iran decision-making roles in various UN bodies, including thwarting their bids to join the Board of UN Women and the Human Rights Council. We strongly believe that the UN must reform the outdated procedures and elections practices that allow pariah states to participate in completely inappropriate ways in parts of the UN system. We continue to work towards that end.


PRN: 2012/160