Are the US still qualified to be a host country for the UN?

(United Nations Photo/Flickr/Creative Commons)

As the host country for the United Nations, the United States have obliged themselves to act impartially. Now the White House has denied a visa to Iran’s chosen ambassador to the UN because he was part of the Muslim student group that seized the US embassy in Tehran in 1979.

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  1. Shen Dingli 4 years ago

    That depends, and the answer is not a simple yes/no. In abstract terms, if someone has committed some serious violation of the UN Charter, say, committing to a massive abuse of human rights, shall such a person be qualified to represent their country in the UN? I hope not, but if their government still appoints him or her, then the host country shall have a right to deny them a visa. That shows no partiality as the host country has a right to defend the UN Charter.

    So in general the US, or any country hosting some international organization, has a right to deny foreign diplomats a presence at the organization, with proper justification of impartiality. Then, if this particular ambassador appointed has to be denied a US visa? My take is that he may have committed to restraining the freedom of American diplomats for a while, a serious violation of the international code of conduct. But this has not constituted a massive abuse of human rights and doesn’t necessarily warrant his denial of an American visa.

    By the way, whether the US is qualified to host the UN is largely not based on its (im)partiality in granting American visas to foreign diplomats dispatched to the UN. It is fundamentally based on the US commitment to peace and security of the world. America has a controversial record in this regard. Given the US war on Iraq in 2003, the question as to whether the US is still qualified to host the UN should have been raised a decade ago.

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  2. Alexei Voskressenski 4 years ago

    The US is still qualified to be a host country for the UN, though the decision to deny a visa for an Iranian diplomat will be considered by a part of the international community as a further pretext to seek the disqualification of the USA. At the same time the decision to send an ambassador who was a part of the student group that seized the US embassy in 1979  was a calculated decision of a prolongation of the Iranian idea to appoint as senior officials (and even the leaders of the country) people who participated in dubious activities in the past. Iran was not the only state that did this – so did the Soviet Union and even some other countries. Here we come to the question: further disproving the U, do we add anything to the peaceful solution of our common problems?  If we are disproving the current international order, what will we have at the end? Can the ambassador who participated in a forceful seizure of an embassy be an instrument of a peaceful policy? In this connection, do we agree, for example, that Iran can be a host country for the UN instead of the US?

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  1. Sean Maxwell 4 years ago


    I find your reasoning baffling. If you judge that seizing nearly 100 DIPLOMATS and holding a majority of them for a year and a half in captivity is not a “massive abuse of human rights”, I would not want you to be an advisor to international bodies on human rights. That is a GROSS violation of the most basic rules (Vienna convention) of international conduct. Ejecting diplomats is one thing; holding them hostage for a year and a half is in another category. Their conditions, by the way, were not benign – this guy was a terrorist, plain and simple, and his regime is far from repentent. I don’t know why Iran qualifies to BE in the UN, given its record of thumbing its nose at all international norms. I remember that prolonged period well when I was a boy, and we were all far from certain those men would be sent home alive. [If Carter had been reelected, they probably would not have.] If the US is deemed at fault for this decision, that is one more reason I’d be happy to end this sham of a thing called the UN. It has been a failed experiment for many years now, and has not recently, if ever, actually prevented a war. I personally would be delighted not to have another of my taxpayer dollars going to support that bureaucratic monstrosity that often actively acts counter to basic human rights, such as the right to life.

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  2. Droit au but 4 years ago

    Well, I´m baffled by both of you, Mr Shen Dingli and also by Mr Maxwell. Saying that being part of a hostage-taking is not a massive abuse of human rights is indeed ridiculous. Just like the claim that the UN never prevented war or actively acts counter to basic human rights. Despite many flaws, the UN has helped end conflicts with peacekeeping operations in many countries. Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mozambique, or Namibia, just to name a few. We also have to bear in mind that the UN can only do what its members – and mainly the Security Council members – authorize it to do. And it was not the UN that started some of the major wars in recent history (Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya)…

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  3. Sean Maxwell 4 years ago


    I will simply say the point about the effectiveness of UN peacekeepers in ending conflicts is, to say the least debatable. But I want to address this terrible failure in moral equivalency when people declare the US to have been a starter of wars, citing Iraq and Afghanistan. Why is it that people love to make that point without noting the dramatic differences in behavior and purpose? The US did not invade Iraq for any gain to itself (as a US taxpayer, I assure you it brought only costs – in money and young lives), but to remove a tyrant who was destabilizing the whole region, and was believed to possess (and had already used) WMD; by the way, there is compelling evidence that those WMDs did exist and are part of the arsenal we all hope gets dismantled in Syria now (though the ultimate success of that endeavor is still in question). The US troops lost many lives trying to protect some Israelis against others. They were battling a brutal insurgency, and that brutality was just as often directed against Iraqis (and still is). Here’s an analogy for your moral equivalency: if I am a strong man, and a see another man start to beat a woman (a particularly apt analogy, I believe) – and I even am sure I saw a deadly weapon on him, and I counterattack the man to protect her, then we end up in a protracted brawl, did I just start a fight? Does that make me just like the woman-beater?

    Afghanistan is another fine tale of moral equivalency gone awry. It is a proven fact that the Taliban regime enabled OBL to direct the 9/11 attacks. We went in to ensure Afghanistan could never again harbor terrorists planning terror against the rest of the world. This was not even an American thing – I think 49 was the last count I saw of the number of nations that have participated in this effort – in NATO and beyond. Please STOP with the preaching about the evil US – I’m fed up with it!

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    1. Shen Dingli 4 years ago

      It is all relative. For a country that has a population of few million people, restraining the freedom of a hundred diplomats certainly constitutes quite a violation of human rights. But comparing with the US war on Iraq in 2003, which may claim lives of some half a million Iraqis, a real massive abusing of human rights, the Iranian act seems less massive. It is clear that none of the countries in the world, including Iraq, has denied the visit of the US leaders who are responsible for the war, or the diplomats sent by American government that has committed such massive abusing of human rights.

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