The credibility of President Obama’s “speak softly and carry a wet U.N. noodle” foreign policy took a major hit on Friday when it was discovered that Iranian thugs have been given carte blanche to participate in and wander around the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva intimidating Iranian dissidents.
The president’s decision to join the U.N.’s top human-rights body in 2009, and more recently to seek a second three-year term on the Council, is one of the centerpieces of his “engagement” strategy. Neither the membership of countries such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, and Cuba on this human-rights agency, nor three years of incessant Israel-bashing, has deterred the administration from attempting to legitimize the Council. It is not surprising, therefore, that Iran is evidently not feeling the heat. […]
It turns out Iran also thought that by participating in the human-rights body it could import some of the tactics acceptable back home. On March 12, 2012, the U.N. was considering a report on human rights in Iran produced by a special rapporteur/investigator. Iranian dissidents were in attendance as observers. Just prior to the commencement of the so-called “interactive dialogue” between states and the investigator, U.N. security guards approached two dissidents and asked them to step outside for questioning. Iranian diplomats, the guards explained, had complained that the two had been taking photographs of Iranian representatives.
After their laptop was examined, the two NGO members were allowed to return to the Council session but shortly thereafter were approached by Iranian diplomats directly. A loud exchange occurred in the back of the Council chamber itself, with Iranian representatives insisting on examining the computer files of the Iranian NGOs. Ultimately, the diplomatic goons took out their cameras and photographed the NGO members inside the Council room. Despite the fact that multiple complaints over the harassment were lodged with U.N. officials, no U.N. action was taken.