The United Nations Development Program (“UNDP”) is the largest
of the UN’s bureaucratic programs, controlling as much as $5 billion of the $20
billion plus budget of the entire UN system.
is the biggest contributor to the UNDP, with annual contributions of over $100
million. However, since the UNDP
coordinates the funding of many other UN development-related programs as well,
the actual amount of U.S.
funds controlled by the UNDP is much higher.
At the same time, the UNDP is one of the most scandal-ridden of the UN’s
agencies, which takes some doing.
There is simply no transparency in how the United Nations
Development Program spends our money. The
UNDP has an administrative procedure that allows for cash transfers directly to
governments to implement much of its programs, with some cash transfers going to
some of the world’s worst human rights abusing and terrorist sponsoring states. For example, an investigation of the UNDP’s
activities in North Korea, which the UNDP first commissioned and then tried to
hobble when it was getting too close to the truth, just recently concluded that
the UN agency was in bed with the North Korean dictator Kim Jong II to a far
greater extent than it had previously acknowledged.
The UNDP has refused to cooperate with any truly independent
audit of its activities in North Korea. Nevertheless, even the internal investigation
it permitted managed to find that at least $20 million was transferred from the
UNDP directly to the North Korean regime for so-called development projects –
more than twice as much as the UNDP had previously owned up to. The report also found that the UNDP had enabled
North Korea to use UN-affiliated accounts to launder money and to import
dual-use technology involving items that were “controlled by the U.S. for
national security and anti-terrorism reasons” without obtaining a required U.S.
This report follows on the heels of other troubling investigations. One involved the UNDP’s operations in Russia,
where an audit found extensive fraud at the UN office in Moscow. Another audit of the UNDP’s global procurement
practices found no real controls with respect to vetting of the firms the UNDP
is doing business with. For example, the
UNDP does not ask new vendors for the identity of their owners or other
corporate ties. It does not have an
effective system for cross-checking its vendors with UN terrorist sanctions
light of this scurrilous record, it is shocking to find out how much the United
Nations Development Program is currently involved in supporting the rogue
terrorist sponsoring regime in Iran. The UNDP alone has been directly providing the
Iranian regime with an average of $7 million per year of largesse for the last
three years. Including both the regular
and extra budgetary resources of the UNDP and all of its partner UN agencies,
funds and programs coordinated by the UNDP under the umbrella known as the United
Nations Development Assistance Framework, the targeted amount of resources expected
to be made available to the Iranian regime during the 2005 – 2009 timeframe is $177 million. And this is just what the UNDP admits to in
its public documents!
The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the
Iranian government, manages all external aid and carries overall responsibility
for the coordination of the UNDP’s program in Iran. This is the same ministry whose chief told
the UN Security Council last year that no UN sanctions can make the Iranian
nation retreat from its nuclear enrichment program. The United Nations Development Program is
helping to make his words come true.
Iran flouts the
current UN Security Council sanctions resolutions meant to deter its nuclear
ambitions, the United Nations Development Program is actively aiding Iran
to obtain potential dual-use technology. It is doing so by enabling, in its own words,
the “transfer of knowledge in science and technology through technology-based
services”, programs to “improve technological capacity in industries”, and “joint
international research projects”. The transfer will include “advance processing
technologies and innovative system design.” There is no mention of any limitations on the
types of technology eligible for transfer under the UNDP’s auspices, nor of any
mechanisms that the UNDP has in place to effectively monitor whether the
technology is being used by the Iranian government to enhance its military
capacity or whether Iran will further share the technology with the terrorist
organizations that the regime sponsors.
For example, the United Nations Development Program, the
World Health Organization and UNESCO have partnered with the Iranian Research
Organization for Science and Technology, an innocent sounding scientific group. However, it turns out that, according to Iran
Watch, the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology has been
listed by the Japanese government as an entity of concern for biological,
chemical and nuclear weapon proliferation. It was identified by the British
government as having procured goods and/or technology for weapons of mass
destruction programs. And it has
reportedly acted as a front for the purchase of fungus from Canada
for producing toxins.
The UN development bureaucrats are also moving to prop up Iran’s
economy, observing in the UN Development Report on Iran
cited below that the relative wealth enjoyed by the country due to its vast oil
and gas reserves needs to be “translated into stronger economic performance in
the long term.” The UN development bureaucrats
plan that “the UN system will lend its support to the Iranian Government” by
working to improve Iran’s
“economic performance and management.” The
goal is to increase Iran’s
real economic growth by 8% per annum and to increase gross investment by 12.2%
To achieve these objectives, the United Nations Development
Program is working hand in glove with the Iranian regime to strengthen its
export, import and production capacities and to help its accession to the World
Trade Organization. The UNDP’s extensive
activities on the Iranian regime’s behalf, and the hard currency being pumped
economy by the UNDP and its affiliated UN agencies, are operating at total
cross-purposes with the ongoing efforts by the UN Security Council and Western
democracies to isolate Iran
from the international financial community.
They are sabotaging such efforts to
apply increasing pressure on Iran’s
economy as leverage to induce Iran
to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment program.
Another of the ways that the United Nations Development
Program has said that it intends to help Iran’s economy is to partner with its
biggest carmaker, Iran Khodro, which builds cars and commercial vehicles for
domestic use and for export.
Khodro is doing fine enough on its own as the largest auto
manufacturer in the Middle East, having forged lucrative
partnerships with French, German and Chinese auto firms. Over the past ten years, Khodro has enjoyed
an annual growth rate of 23 percent and has been manufacturing more than
However, it is not the fact that Khodro can prosper without
any help from the UNDP that is so disturbing, although the European firms that
are doing business with Khodro should reconsider how their private
self-interest is conflicting with their governments’ stance against the Iranian
regime. Rather, what is disturbing are Khodro’s
reported links to Iran’s
military and its relationships with two terrorist sponsoring rogue states, Syria
and Sudan. These nefarious links and relationships should
have given the UNDP pause if it were not intending all along to undermine the economic
sanctions imposed on Iran
by the UN Security Council, the United States
and the European Union.
Executive Director Manuchehr Manteqi was reportedly a Brigadier General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps during the 1990’s and has served as a senior
official of Iran’s Defense Industries Organization. According to Iran Watch, Khodro was listed
by the German government as a risky end-user in warnings supplied to its
exporters in 2004.
Khodro has publicly stated that it plans to use Sudan
as a base for wide export of its products, working directly with Sudan’s defense ministry.
The United Nations Development Program hypes its ‘good
governance’ agenda as a rationale for cooperating so extensively with the
Iranian regime. Improved economic
conditions will go hand in hand with measures to lessen corruption and increase
openness, the UNDP propagandists tell us. The precise opposite has occurred. There is more political repression than ever
in Iran. And when a member of the Iranian General
Audit Office had the nerve recently to claim that “a mafia-style group of
mullahs” is “plundering the country and sending the proceeds to foreign banks”
he was promptly arrested by the secret police, presumably on orders from
“Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei. There can be little doubt that the mullahs
have their eyes on the UNDP-sponsored jackpot of $177 million flowing into Iran’s
The United Nations Development Program is aiding and
abetting the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions and terrorist activities by
enabling the transfer of potential dual-use technology to Iran. And it is strengthening the statist economy
with unaccountable infusions of money to the regime’s government, and
ultimately to the mullahs, to do with as they wish.
Except for the most limited form of emergency humanitarian
relief, the United Nations Development Program and its partner UN agencies must
be removed from Iran
immediately. Their gravy train of money,
technology and knowledge transfer to the Iranian regime must be stopped.