President Obama likes to say that Iran is "isolated," but he must not be paying very close attention to the goings on at the United Nations, where the supposed rogue state "has been cultivating its own mini-empire," writes Claudia Rosett in the Wall Street Journal. Iran heads the second-largest voting bloc, the unofficial, 120-member "Non-Aligned Movement," which gives its diplomats' every pronouncement extra weight. Last year it held a movement summit attended by Ban Ki-moon himself.
Iran doesn't owe its power "to the annual burlesque" of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's New York speeches. Rather, it's become adept at the UN's practice of allocating board seats by quota to geographic regions, and trading on its oil reserves for support. It also sends skilled (and often US-educated) diplomats, who stick around longer than their US counterparts. The UN has no penalties for being under sanctions, and Iran is constantly proving that "monstrous human rights records don't interfere with acquiring plum seats." Click for Rosett's full column.