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US objects to Iran's candidacy for UN disarmament post

Iran has proposed a candidate for the position of vice chairmanship of the UN Disarmament Commission, a move that the US describes as "unacceptable in light of Iran's many breaches of Security Council demands to halt its controversial atomic work."

UN diplomats told Reuters that, "Iran is running unopposed for one of two vice chair posts allotted to the Asia-Pacific Group, one of the five regional UN groups."

Iran's UN mission defended its candidacy saying, "Tehran has played a key role in disarmament issues over the years."

Western diplomats said that such UN posts are largely symbolic, although Tehran uses them to improve its reputation at the UN.

Washington cannot actually prevent Iran from winning the post, however the US has strongly expressed its disapproval, saying that: "Tehran is inappropriate for the post which discusses and makes recommendations about disarmament issues."

As Erin Pelton, spokesperson for the US mission to the UN, explained: "Iran has been the target of numerous UN Security Council resolutions regarding its nuclear programme. Iran also violated its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty." Pelton added that, "It is incumbent upon regional groups to enforce the common-sense principle that countries subject to UN sanctions should not be granted formal or ceremonial positions in UN bodies".

Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesperson for Iran's UN mission, rejected the US criticism, saying "Iran is a major victim of weapons of mass destruction in recent decades, and as a founding member of the UN and the current Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, Iran has played a leading role in disarmament issues."

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