Iran has asked the largest United Nations’ largest voting bloc to back its controversial bid for a two-year term on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
Addressing fellow Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) foreign ministers on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki described the Islamic republic as “a pioneer in the campaign against prejudices in the international order restricting the freedom, independence and progress of nations,” the Iranian Fars News Agency reported.
In October, the U.N. General Assembly will vote to fill five of the 10 temporary seats on the UNSC. One of those five seats is reserved for an Asian country. The only other candidate for the seat, Japan, is more likely to win. Japan, the second-largest contributor to the U.N.’s budget, has held a seat nine times.
The powerful NAM bloc represents nearly 2/3 of the U.N.’s membership, comprised mostly of developing countries, also accounts for 55 percent of the world’s population.
The purpose of the organization, as stated in the 1979 Havana Declaration, is to ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries” in their “struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neocolonialism, apartheid, racism, including Zionism, and any form of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as the struggle against the policies of big powers or blocs.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has praised the NAM in the past, calling it “the voice of a new and more powerful South.”
The NAM may not want to risk its credibility by backing Iran’s current bid to join the UNSC without any tangible signs of flexibility on Iran’s part to resolve the nuclear standoff.
If Iran were elected, it would replace Indonesia as the representative of Asia, and it has not been a member of the council since the mid-1950s.
The UNSC is the organ of the U.N. charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, as outlined in the U.N. Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions regimes and the authorization for military action.
To win a seat on, a nation must receive the votes of 2/3 of the vote from the U.N.’s 192 member-states, approximately 128 votes.
In the past, not all NAM member states have supported Tehran at the U.N. despite calls for “solidarity.” States such as Singapore, Colombia and the Philippines have strong relations with the U.S., and many others are recipients of Western aid.
Iran currently is the target of a number of UNSC resolutions urging it “to cease and desist from any and all uranium enrichment.”
Iran has not yet shown any indication it will comply with these resolutions.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Zalmay Khalilzad had said it would be “extraordinarily strange” for Iran to become a member of the UNSC at a time when it was under sanctions and not in compliance with the international community over the nuclear issue.