In a move that some critics are calling ironic, problematic, and ill-advised, Iran will oversee the UN Conference on Disarmament this month.
The Middle Eastern country will take over presidency of the conference from May 27 through June 23, and is being given the opportunity, AFP notes, based on an alphabetical rotation of 65 member states.
Considering Ian's history -- mainly allegations that the country is attempting to develop nuclear weapons -- there's clearly some irony here. The United States is planning to boycott the meetings during this time, claiming that Iran should not be allowed to hold official positions in the UN amid sanctions.
Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Currently, Iran faces four rounds of ramifications for its purported actions. Allowing the country to hold this position, the U.S. claims, sends the wrong message and undercuts the central goals of the UN Conference on Disarmament.
AFP has more:
Iran's presidency is "unfortunate and highly inappropriate," said Pelton. "The United States will not be represented at the ambassadorial level during any meeting presided over by Iran."
"The United States continues to believe that countries that are under Chapter VII sanctions for weapons proliferation or massive human-rights abuses should be barred from any formal or ceremonial positions in UN bodies."
Pelton acknowledged that the conference presidency is largely ceremonial with no responsibilities.
Regardless of how prominent the role is, the U.S. is doubling down -- and isn't alone in its criticism.
"This is like putting Jack the Ripper in charge of a women's shelter," said Hillel Neuer, who heads UN Watch, a Geneva-based group.