Like Its Failed Predecessor, the UN Human Rights Council Is Interested Only in Slandering Israel

In 2006, the United Nations created its Human Rights Council to replace the disbanded Human Rights Commission, which was little more than a forum for the world’s cruelest despots to condemn the Jewish state. Currently in session in Geneva, the council has demonstrated that it has preserved all the faults of its precursor. Arsen Ostrovsky writes:

[I]nstead of focusing on China’s ethnic cleansing of Uighur Muslims, Iran’s merciless execution of the wrestler Navid Afkar, or Russia’s poisoning of the pro-democracy opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the council will once again focus its attention on the democratic state of Israel with a series of predictable condemnations. . . . The council reserves a spot on its agenda to condemn the Jewish state—the sole country-specific item—whereas human-rights issues in the entire rest of the world are shoved into one solitary agenda item.

In the meantime, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, in her September 14th remarks to the council at the opening of this current session, did not hesitate to condemn Israel for exercising self-defense against Hamas in Gaza.

At the same time, the council’s current membership, which includes Pakistan, Qatar, Libya, slave-trading Mauritania, and Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuela, doesn’t inspire confidence in the council’s ability to defend the oppressed and serve as an objective guardian of human rights. . . . [In] this theatre of the, absurd, terrorists, tyrants, dictators, and [their] henchmen sit in judgment of Western democracies, their places on the Human Rights Council guaranteed by sham elections and back-door deals, their impunity sealed by membership in the UN’s top human-rights body.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Human Rights, UNHRC, United Nations

Leaked Emails Point to an Iranian Influence Operation That Reaches into the U.S. Government

Sept. 27 2023

As the negotiations leading up to the 2015 nuclear deal began in earnest, Tehran launched a major effort to cultivate support abroad for its positions, according to a report by Jay Solomon:

In the spring of 2014, senior Iranian Foreign Ministry officials initiated a quiet effort to bolster Tehran’s image and positions on global security issues—particularly its nuclear program—by building ties with a network of influential overseas academics and researchers. They called it the Iran Experts Initiative. The scope and scale of the IEI project has emerged in a large cache of Iranian government correspondence and emails.

The officials, working under the moderate President Hassan Rouhani, congratulated themselves on the impact of the initiative: at least three of the people on the Foreign Ministry’s list were, or became, top aides to Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s special envoy on Iran, who was placed on leave this June following the suspension of his security clearance.

In March of that year, writes Solomon, one of these officials reported that “he had gained support for the IEI from two young academics—Ariane Tabatabai and Dina Esfandiary—following a meeting with them in Prague.” And here the story becomes particularly worrisome:

Tabatabai currently serves in the Pentagon as the chief of staff for the assistant secretary of defense for special operations, a position that requires a U.S. government security clearance. She previously served as a diplomat on Malley’s Iran nuclear negotiating team after the Biden administration took office in 2021. Esfandiary is a senior advisor on the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group, a think tank that Malley headed from 2018 to 2021.

Tabatabai . . . on at least two occasions checked in with Iran’s Foreign Ministry before attending policy events, according to the emails. She wrote to Mostafa Zahrani, [an Iranian scholar in close contact with the Foreign Ministry and involved in the IEI], in Farsi on June 27, 2014, to say she’d met Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal—a former ambassador to the U.S.—who expressed interest in working together and invited her to Saudi Arabia. She also said she’d been invited to attend a workshop on Iran’s nuclear program at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. . . .

Elissa Jobson, Crisis Group’s chief of advocacy, said the IEI was an “informal platform” that gave researchers from different organizations an opportunity to meet with IPIS and Iranian officials, and that it was supported financially by European institutions and one European government. She declined to name them.

Read more at Semafor

More about: Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy