By Stewart Stogel
UNITED NATIONS – Nowruz, the Iranian new year, drew some unusual
guests at a celebration at U.N. headquarters in New York this week.
One came from Washington, D.C.
The Iranian-U.N. mission led an official group of 13 nations, who also celebrate the occasion, to a gathering Tuesday night inside the cavernous General Assembly hall, where more than 1,000 guests were in attendance.
Who came and who didn’t was significant.
Reflecting their on-going battle with the Security Council, the British, who chair the council presidency for March, were nowhere to be found.
Another council member, Germany, was also not seen during the evening. The Russian and Chinese ambassadors, as expected, paid their respects.
But two other council members who have long crossed swords with Tehran showed up. Both the French and Americans sent their deputy ambassadors to the
U.S.-U.N. Deputy Ambassador Rosemary A. DiCarlo was seen moving
quietly and discreetly around the General Assembly hall throughout the evening, as was her French counterpart. DiCarlo was alone, and when asked what she was doing at the Nowruz gathering, the U.S.-U.N. mission declined comment.
The DiCarlo appearance came just hours after President Obama
sent his own Nowruz greetings to the Iranian people.
“I want the Iranian people to know that America seeks a dialogue to hear your views and understand your aspirations,” Obama said. “That is why we set up a Virtual Embassy, so you can see for yourselves what the United States is saying and doing.”
Another conspicuous attendant and co-sponsor of the event was Iraq. Baghdad’s permanent representative, Hamid al-Bayati, was seated front and center.
Bayati took to the General Assembly podium where he delivered a short speech
praising the Iranian leadership as wonderful.
Bayati’s comments got a sharp rebuke from former U.S.-U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.
“The Obama administration needs to pay closer attention to Iran’s
influence over the al-Maliki government, considering for example,
Iraqi cooperation with Iran in avoiding economic sanctions,” Bolton said.
Another diplomat at the U.N. Tuesday evening was Syrian Ambassador
Bashar Jaafari. The Syrian insisted that the Chinese and Russians will continue to
block any punitive Security Council action despite reports that
Washington was close to an accommodation with Moscow and Beijing.
“It is not true,” Ja’afari insisted.
“The gulf between them is still very wide,” he explained.
However, just a day later, the Security Council did agree on a meager, non-binding presidential statement endorsing the mediation efforts of special envoy Kofi Annan.
The so-called gulf, though, continues to plague U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who told reporters in Indonesia that more than 8,000 people have been killed in Syria.
“The situation has become unacceptable, intolerable,” he said.
Ban is currently on a tour of South Asian.