Sunday, October 31, 2010


Iranian regime is vying for board of UN Women

Iran, where a woman convicted of adultery has been sentenced to death by stoning, is poised to become a board member of the new United Nations agency to promote equality for women. The move has sparked outrage from the US and human rights groups. Some rights groups are also upset that Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to drive and are barred from many facilities used by men, is also trying to join the governing body of UN Women. The General Assembly resolution adopted in July, that merged four UN bodies dealing with women’s issues into a single agency with greater clout to represent half the world’s population, calls for a 41-member executive board, with 35 members chosen by regional groups and six representing donor nations. The Asian group has put forward an uncontested 10-nation list that includes Iran, UN diplomats said, and Saudi Arabia has been selected for one of two slots for emerging donor nations. The 54 nations on the UN Economic and Social Council are expected to elect the UN Women’s board on November 10 and it is possible that other Asian nations or emerging donor nations could become candidates, though diplomats said that is not likely. Philippe Bolopion, UN advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, said “it’s puzzling that Iran would have the nerve to be a candidate for the board of UN Women, and even more puzzling if the Asia group lets Iran get away with it”. He added: “Having on top of it Saudi Arabia, a country with a track record on women’s rights as horrendous as Iran’s, would add insult to injury.”

Illegal arms shipment found in Nigeria loaded in Iran: firm

Associated France Press reported: an illegal arms shipment which included rockets and grenades discovered in Nigeria this week was loaded in Iran by an Iranian trader, the firm that operates the vessel that delivered it said on Friday. Security agents this week intercepted 13 containers declared as building materials and discharged from the CMA CGM Everest vessel at the country’s busiest port of Apapa near Lagos. ’The shipment in question was booked as a ’shippers owned container’ and supplied loaded and sealed by the shipper, an Iranian trader who does not appear on any ’forbidden persons’ listing,’ said CMA CGM, which operates the Marshall Islands-flagged vessel. CMA CGM, based in France, said the containers were loaded in Bandar Abbas, a southern port city of Iran, and discharged in Lagos in July. But last week the shipper asked to have the containers reloaded and sent to the Gambia, a tiny West African country wedged inside Senegal, according to the firm.

Singapore tightens trading rules with Iran, North Korea

According to Dow Jones, Singapore said Friday it will tighten its trading regime with North Korea and Iran in line with United Nations’ sanctions from November to curb ’illicit diversions of strategic controlled goods.’ A Singapore Customs statement said the Southeast Asian city-state would not allow trade in a host of military-related items, including conventional arms, with either nation.