The chair of the House Intelligence Committee on Friday issued a statement slamming Iran’s inclusion on the United Nations’ Disarmament and International Security Committee — a body that all 193 members of the U.N. serve on.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) put out the statement on behalf of the House Intelligence Committee, citing Iran’s nuclear program and cyber attacks as reasons why the Islamic Republic shouldn’t serve on the committee. “The selection of Iran to serve on the United Nations’ Committee on Disarmament and International Security is outrageous and puts a fox in charge of the hen house,” the statement reads. “Placing a patron state of Syria on this committee as the U.N. begins disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons is a further blow to the credibility of the United Nations.”
Counter to Congressman Rogers’ statement, however, it would be quite impossible to bar Iran from serving on the committee, as its membership is universal. This is because another name for the Disarmament and International Security is the First Committee of the General Assembly. Under the U.N. Charter, all member-states take part in the General Assembly and per the G.A.’s rules all members also serve on the six committees.
What Rogers may have been referring to is the fact that Iran has been voted to be the rapporteur on the committee. The role isn’t exactly prestigious, however, consisting mostly of relaying information and reports on disarmament and armament activities between the committee and the full General Assembly. Nothing about the position denotes any extra weight in voting procedures, determining what actions the committee will take, or setting policy for the committee. Either way, Iran’s position on the committee in no way indicates any sort of blow to the U.N.’s credibility.
A report from The Hill based on Rogers’ statement also manages to misconstrue precisely what is going on in New York. “With its new position on the U.N.’s Committee on Disarmament and International Security, Tehran will now have a direct role in overseeing the dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal,” the article reads.
This is completely untrue, as the First Committee has no direct responsibility for overseeing Syria’s handover at all. Instead, that role falls to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which will do the work on the ground and determine if Syria is in compliance, and the U.N. Security Council, who will determine what actions to take should Syria backtrack.
Rogers also refers in his statement to the fact that Iran “has centrifuges actively spinning in an effort to obtain a nuclear weapon.” Both Israeli and American intelligence are currently of the opinion, however, that Iran has yet to make the decision to pursue a nuclear weapon.