- By Colum Lynch
Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy's award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy's Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Silver Prize for his coverage of the United Nations.
Before moving to Foreign Policy, Lynch reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. As the Washington Post's United Nations reporter, Lynch had been involved in the paper's diplomatic coverage of crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as the nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea. He also played a key part in the Post's diplomatic reporting on the Iraq war, the International Criminal Court, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Lynch's enterprise reporting has explored the underside of international diplomacy. His investigations have uncovered a U.S. spying operation in Iraq, Dick Cheney's former company's financial links to Saddam Hussein, and documented numerous sexual misconduct and corruption scandals.
Lynch has appeared frequently on the Lehrer News Hour, MSNBC, NPR radio, and the BBC. He has also moderated public discussions on foreign policy, including interviews with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. national security advisor, Gerard Araud, France's U.N. ambassador, and other senior diplomatic leaders.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Lynch received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. He previously worked for the Boston Globe.
The Iranian government tonight turned to the United Nations for help in defending itself against "fabricated and baseless" allegations that it plotted to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States in Washington, D.C.
In a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Iran’s U.N. ambassador Mohammad Khazaee voiced his government’s "outrage regarding the allegations leveled" against Tehran. "Iran has always condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations."
"The Islamic Republic of Iran underlines its determination to maintain its friendly relations with all regional countries, particularly with its Muslim neighbors," he wrote. "As the Secretary General of the United Nations you have an important responsibility in enlightening the international public opinion about the dangerous consequences of warmongering policies of the United States Government on international peace and security."
The Iranian envoy said his government would share the letter with the presidents of the U.N. General Assembly and the Security Council.
The appeal to the United Nations came just hours after the Obama administration alleged that some elements within the Iranian government had orchestrated the assassination plot. The U.S. Justice Department charges against two Iranians — one of them a U.S. citizen — accused them of planning a scheme to assassinate Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador to Washington as he dined at a Washington restaurant, the Washington Post reported. The Iranians planned to employ Mexican drug traffickers to kill Jubeir with a bomb.
Senior federal officials told the Washington Post that it remained unclear whether Iran’s leadership were involved in the scheme. They said that they thwarted the attack because the Iranian American, Manssor Arbabsiar, was unknowingly hired a paid informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and later implicated officials in Iran’s paramilitary al-Quds Force in masterminding the plot.
Khazaee said the "Islamic Republic of Iran strongly and categorically rejects these fabricated and baseless allegations, based on the suspicious claims by an individual. Any country could accuse other countries through fabrication of such stories. However, this would set dangerous precedents in the relations among states."
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Full text of the Iranian letter follows:
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
No. 1110 11 October 2011
I am writing to you to express our outrage regarding the allegations leveled by the United States officials against the Islamic Republic of Iran on the involvement of my country in an assassination plot targeting a foreign diplomat in Washington .
The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly and categorically rejects these fabricated and baseless allegations, based on the suspicious claims by an individual. Any country could accuse other countries through fabrication of such stories. However, this would set dangerous precedents in the relations among States.
Iran has always condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Iran has been a victim of terrorism, a clear recent example of which is the assassination of a number of Iranian nuclear scientists in the past two years carried out by the Zionist regime and supported by the United States .
The Iranian nation seeks a world free from terrorism and considers the current US warmongering and propaganda machine against Iran as a threat not just against itself but to the peace and stability in the Persian Gulf region. The Islamic Republic of Iran warns against the implications of this horrible scenario and submits that the continuation of such divide-and-rule policies could have detrimental effects on peace and security.
The US allegation is, obviously, a politically-motivated move and a showcase of its long-standing animosity towards the Iranian nation. The Islamic Republic of Iran categorically and in the strongest terms condemns this shameful allegation by the United States authorities and deplores it as a well-thought evil plot in line with their anti-Iranian policy to divert attention from the current economic and social problems at home and the popular revolutions and protests against United States long supported dictatorial regimes abroad.
The Islamic Republic of Iran underlines its determination to maintain its friendly relations with all regional countries, particularly with its Muslim neighbors, and invites all to be vigilant against the vicious campaigns targeting stability and peace and friendly relations among States in our region.
As the Secretary-General of the United Nations you have an important responsibility in enlightening the international public opinion about the dangerous consequences of warmongering policies of the United States Government on international peace and security.
I am sending identical letters to the President of the Security Council and the President of the General Assembly. It would be appreciated if this letter could be circulated as a document of the General Assembly under the agenda item 83 and of the Security Council.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurance of my highest consideration.
H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon
United Nations, New York
cc: H.E. Mrs Ogawu
President of the Security Council
cc: H.E. Mr. Nasser
President of the General Assembly
United Nations, New York