AJC Berlin Calls on UN Agency to Reconsider Iranian Minister’s Vienna Visit

March 8, 2013 - AJC Berlin has called on the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to reconsider its decision to include Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar in its meeting in Vienna next week.


The minister already is banned from entering Austria due to his role in the harsh repression of the opposition movement after Iran’s 2009 elections, as well as his involvement with terror attacks in the 1980s. However, this ban does not extend to participation in UN events.


“Inviting political leaders who flout international law to a UN conference on crime is the height of hypocrisy,” said Deidre Berger, director of AJC Berlin. “Let’s hope this was an oversight that the UN will quickly correct.”


Mohammad-Najjar previously served as Iran’s defense minister, from 2005–2009. The EU has cited his role in developing Iran’s medium-range ballistic missile program, commonly thought to be linked to a potential nuclear warhead. The UN, U.S., and EU have imposed increasingly tightening sanctions on Iran, which continues to defy international norms regarding its nuclear program.


“It is a disgrace that the UN would even think of inviting the interior minister of a brutally repressive regime to a conference on drugs and crime,” said Berger. “Nothing good can come of this.”


Berger also called on Austrian leaders to end their dialogue with high-level Iranian officials. Two weeks ago, Iranian Foreign Minister Salehi spoke at the UN Alliance of Civilizations forum in Vienna, and also met with Austria’s foreign minister and leading politicians.