GENEVA — After a UN spokesperson defended the world body’s endorsement of Iran’s “anti-terrorism” conference—which accused the US, Britain, and Israel of perpetrating terrorism, and asserted a cover-up concerning 9/11 and the Holocaust—UN Watch today called on US and British representatives to intervene.
As reported today by The Jerusalem Post, a UN spokesperson defended Ban Ki-moon’s message to the conference, presented in person by a UN counter-terrorism official, saying, “the UN believes that it is important for all nations to work together in the fight against terrorism.”
UN Watch expressed “deep disappointment” with this reponse, and sent letters today to US Ambassador Susan Rice and British Ambassador Mark Justin Lyall Grant (see below), asking them to demand a UN retraction.
“If the Chinese Communist Party will now organize an international conference for internet freedom, and if Syria’s President Assad will hold one for the right to peaceful protest, will the UN also endorse those, on grounds that it is important for all nations to work together in promoting human rights?” asked Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based human rights monitoring organization.
“With Iran now trumpeting headlines such as ‘UN Chief Praises Tehran’s Anti-Terror Initiative,’ the UN must immediately distance itself from this insult to victims of Iranian terrorism worldwide. Mr. Ban should also condemn Iran’s president — as he has rightly done before — for insulting the memory of the victims of 9/11 and of the Holocaust.”
Ambassador Susan E. Rice
US Mission to the United Nations
140 East 45th Street
New York, N.Y. 10017
June 27, 2011
Dear Ambassador Rice,
UN Watch is deeply concerned, as I am sure you are, that the United Nations endorsed the cynical conference on terrorism organized by Iran this past weekend, as detailed in our enclosed letter to the Secretary-General. We trust that the United States will demand that the UN distance itself from this Orwellian propaganda exercise—an insult to victims worldwide of Iranian-sponsored terrorism—and that it refrain from similar acts in the future.
The damage is clear. Over the past three days, Iranian state media have been trumpeting the UN Secretary-General’s message, reportedly presented at the conference by a UN official who oversees a UN office on counter-terrorism. One headline from the Fars News Agency reads: “UN Chief Praises Tehran’s Anti-Terror Initiative.”
By celebrating an event like this, the UN calls into question its credibility on the issue of terrorism as well as on human rights as a whole.
His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon
The United Nations
New York, NY 10017
25 June 2011
Earlier this week, UN Watch warmly welcomed your deserved reelection as UN Secretary-General and applauded your principled leadership. It is in that spirit that we call upon you to distance yourself and the United Nations from a cynical conference now underway in Iran which claims to have your blessing and that of the United Nations.
Organized by the Iranian government, the conference is entitled “International Conference on Global Fight Against Terrorism.” It began today and ends tomorrow. The opening message by Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei attacked “the United States, Britain and some Western governments, with a black record in terrorist behaviors,” “satanic world powers,” and “terrorist organizations such as the Zionism International Agency.” (http://www.icterrorism.com/en/?news=163)
The Iranian Supreme Leader further says on the conference website that “the creation and growth of the wild and blind terrorism is basically the result of the wicked policy of America and England,” and that “it is a duty for all Muslims to confront and fight this inauspicious offspring which is the clear example of corruption on earth and fighting with God.” (http://www.icterrorism.com/en/?page=200)
Inflammatory cartoons abound on the conference website. Several depict the United States as a purveyor of terrorism (http://www.icterrorism.com/en/?album=77). One image portrays innocent Middle Easterners as the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Another shows the Statue of Liberty, with Lady Liberty holding a stick of dynamite in her hand. Still another shows an Israeli soldier as a devil with horns.
If this were not enough, the conference openly defied the United Nations by prominently hosting Sudanese President Al-Bashir, against whom there is an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court on the charge of genocide against the people of Darfur.
As you know, this conference is the height of cynicism. Iran is a leading sponsor of terrorism, arming and training terrorist proxies such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Iran has been accused of sponsoring terrorist attacks in Iraq, and of now aiding the Syrian regime in the bloody repression of its own population. Iran has been condemned repeatedly by the UN General Assembly for severely violating the human rights of its own citizens, and is under UN sanctions for violating international law in its covert pursuit of a nuclear bomb. Last September, you rightly condemned Iranian President Ahmadinejad when he used the UN podium to accuse the US of perpetrating the 9/11 terror attacks.
In light of the above, we were alarmed to see that this Iranian propaganda vehicle not only features the UN logo on the home page of its website, implying UN sponsorship, but also appears to have received a special message from you that was read out in person by a UN representative in Tehran. A summary appears on the conference website under your photo (http://www.icterrorism.com/en/?news=216). According to the Mehr News agency, “United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sent a message to the conference, which was read out by UN representative Muhammad Rafiuddin Shah.” The report goes on to say that “Ban thanked the Islamic Republic of Iran for organizing the conference.”
Mr. Secretary-General, your good name and that of the United Nations should not be exploited in this way. It harms the credibility of the world body, contradicts the principles of the UN Charter, and aids and abets the sponsors of terrorism in their global propaganda. We urge you to publicly distance yourself and the UN from this shameful conference.