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The Multilateralist

Waiting for the Iran experts

It’s now been more than three months since the U.N. Security Council, with great fanfare, passed new sanctions against Iran. That resolution called for the appointment of up to eight special experts who would help monitor sanctions implementation and bolster the work of the Council’s own sanctions committee. Experts like these have been used in ...

It’s now been more than three months since the U.N. Security Council, with great fanfare, passed new sanctions against Iran. That resolution called for the appointment of up to eight special experts who would help monitor sanctions implementation and bolster the work of the Council’s own sanctions committee. Experts like these have been used in the past and have often proved valuable in energizing U.N. sanctions regimes that can otherwise slip through the bureaucratic cracks and attract little attention and energy. 

To date, however, the United Nations has not named any Iran experts. My understanding is that the Council has more or less agreed on a slate of candidates — with one from each of the P5 states — and that the ball is now in the U.N. Secretariat’s court. One of the complications of the process on a high-profile case like Iran is that the experts are technically hired by the Secretariat but effectively selected by the Council. Once appointed, they report primarily to the Council. In the past, this has produced friction between the Council and the U.N. bureaucracy, which occasionally grumbles about paying and finding office space for experts who are largely beyond their control. 

It’ s not clear whether bureaucratic turf battles are to blame for the current sluggishness. But whatever the cause, it’s well past time to get the experts named and operating.

 Twitter: @multilateralist

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