The 1947 United Nations Headquarters Agreement requires foreign diplomats access to the headquarters in New York even if those diplomats represent countries with whom the U.S. has unfavorable or strained relationships.
Citing “security, terrorism and foreign policy” reasons, the United States violated this agreement last week when it denied Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif a seat at the United Nations Security Council.
According to Iran’s ISNA news agency, Zarif explained:
“What we know is that the U.S. State Secretary [Mike Pompeo], in a call to the Secretary General of the United Nations [Antonio Guterres], said: ‘We did not have time to issue a visa for Mohammad Javad Zarif and we will not issue a visa’. The Secretary General responded by saying that it is Iran’s right to take part in this session.”
The Security Council meeting on upholding the UN Charter was scheduled before the recent military escalation between the U.S. and Iran after Donald Trump unilaterally ordered the assassination of Iranian military general Qassem Suleimani.
Zarif tweeted Monday:
While U.S. displays utter contempt for UN Charter & its catastrophic adventurism encourages extremism and terror, tomorrow we'll host Tehran Dialogue Forum & discuss ways of achieving regional security, incl Hormuz Peace Endeavor #HOPE.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 6, 2020
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded to reporters:
“I can’t add much more to this issue of Foreign Minister Zarif’s travel to the United States. I’ll say only this: we will always comply with our obligations under the U.N. requirements and the headquarters agreement and we will do so in this particular instance and more broadly every day.”
“The United States retains full control and authority over the entry of persons or property into the territory of the United States and the conditions under which persons may remain or reside there.”
The United States sanctioned Zarif for implementing “the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader” before the September annual UN meeting, yet Zarif was still permitted to attend, as he was in April and July.
The Trump administration is having a hard time justifying how much of an “imminent threat” Qassem Suleimani was.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) tweeted a screenshot of a memo Trump circulated to senators attempting to justify Suleimani’s murder:
Here’s the unclassified version of what Trump sent Congress after the hit on Suleimani.
From all we’ve seen, including the redacted parts here and the briefing, the facts do not show an imminent threat.
We must pass a bill making clear Trump can’t start a war without a vote. pic.twitter.com/mUnkLwsph1
— Senator Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) January 9, 2020
Trump’s letter states:
“I directed these actions in response to an escalating series of attacks in recent months by Iran and Iran-backed militias on United States forces and interests in the Middle East region. The purposes of these actions are to protect United States personnel, to deter Iran from conducting or supporting further attacks against United States forces and interests, to degrade Iran’s and Qods Force-backed militias’ ability to conduct attacks, and to end Iran’s strategic escalation of attacks on and threats to United States interests.”
Business Insider wrote in response:
“The justifications for killing Soleimani, as stated in the letter, appear at odds with the Trump administration’s repeated claims that it directed the strike because of ‘imminent threats to American lives,’ according to the Departments of Defense and State.
“Defense Secretary Mark Esper also said on Tuesday that the US decision was made to preempt an Iranian attack on US targets within days, and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said Soleimani was ‘plotting…to attack American facilities and diplomats. Trump’s memo to the Senate, however, cited ‘an escalating series of attacks in recent months’ by Iran and its regional armed allies, but did not explicitly mention an ‘imminent threat.’”
The Trump administration is also citing 9/11 in its rationale.
In a series of tweets, Vice President Mike Pence called Suleimani “an evil man who was responsible for killing thousands of Americans.”
He also claimed Suleimani “assisted in the clandestine travel to Afghanistan of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.”
19 terrorists perpetrated 9/11, not 12.
15 of them came from Saudi Arabia.
The rest were from the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, and Egypt.
There is also no evidence Suleimani was behind it.
Even some Republicans are scratching their heads.
This prompted Mike Pence to run interference.
To NBC, Pence explained the reason the briefing was so bad was because it intentionally omitted actual evidence only he, Donald Trump, and possibly one additional person knows.
“Well, some of that has to do with what’s called sources and methods. That if we were to share all of the intelligence—in fact, some of the most compelling evidence that Qassem Soleimani was preparing an imminent attack against American forces and American personnel also represents some of the most sensitive intelligence that we have—it could compromise those sources and methods.”
“I have tremendous respect for Senator Mike Lee. I recognize he’s had a difference of opinion with our administration over self-defense measures the president authorized in Yemen. We’ll welcome those debates going forward, but I can assure your viewers that those of us that have seen all the evidence, that saw the evidence in real time, know that president Trump made the right decision to take Qassem Soleimani off the battlefield. America is safer. The world is safer now, even after the Iranian response. No American casualties and Iran is standing down.”
Trump is the third president to be impeached, the first Republican, and the first to face impeachment in his first term.
Iran is an attempt at a deflection from this and the myriad other crimes Trump is guilty of committing before and after winning the Electoral College over Hillary Clinton’s popular vote in 2016.
Based on prior tweets, war is the way he thinks incumbents secure re-election.
In order to get elected, @BarackObama will start a war with Iran.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2011
Nearly a year later, he followed with:
Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin – watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2012
Two weeks later, Trump tweeted:
Don’t let Obama play the Iran card in order to start a war in order to get elected–be careful Republicans!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2012
Although Trump’s prognostication about Barack Obama starting a war with Iran was incorrect, Trump is planning on doing what he accused Obama of intending.
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