Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Who Is Abbas Mirakhor?

Trust Claudia Rosett, scourge of the UN, to ferret out an aspect of the DSK story that no one else noticed--how Iran's IMF rep was the one who, in an official communique, laid out the now ex-IMF chief's terms of employment. She writes that she came across this info
in the course of reading a 2007 letter from the IMF’s 24 member executive board, which governs the IMF’s daily doings. This letter spelled out for Strauss-Kahn the terms of his appointment as managing director of the institution, and was put out by the IMF in 2007 in a press release that didn’t exactly make headlines at the time. By IMF standards it has some reasonably juicy passages, laying out the benefits of the job. There is a section on the managing director’s annual salary, effectively tax-exempt, of $420,930, plus an allowance of $75,350 “to enable you to maintain, in the interests of the Fund, a scale of living appropriate to your position as Managing Director and to the Fund’s need for representation.” There’s a provision for increasing both these sums every year to keep up with any increase in Washington consumer prices. For business travel, there are per diem payments, plus reimbursement for “all hotel expenses,” as well as travel and hotel expenses for his spouse to attend IMF annual board meetings outside Washington, or accompany him on any official travel “where this is in the interest of the Fund.” The letter goes on to detail generous retirement provisions, and so forth. By the time you’re done reading it — especially after the recent news that when Strauss-Kahn encountered the now-famous immigrant maid this past May, he was staying in a New York hotel suite that cost $3,000 per night — you might well wonder if the IMF, like most bureaucracies of the United Nations “family” of institutions, hasn’t become a tad too generous in lavishing other people’s money on its senior staff.
But that’s not the most interesting part. What needs attention is that this letter to Strauss-Kahn from the IMF executive board was signed, as it happens, by someone named Abbas Mirakhor.
Who is Abbas Mirakhor? When he signed that letter to Strauss-Kahn in 2007, he was Iran’s representative at the IMF. Iran, it seems, was not only a member of the executive board, but Iran’s director was the point man of the board for communicating the terms of employment to the IMF’s new boss. Never mind that the previous year, Iran’s terror-sponsoring regime had already come under sanctions from the UN Security Council for its rogue nuclear program.
That’s not remotely to suggest that Iran’s Abbas Mirakhor hired Strauss-Kahn, or that Strauss-Kahn had any responsibility for who signed the letter spelling out his salary and perquisites. Mirakhor simply served as an important functionary in formalizing the terms of the deal. But it’s a good example of the disturbing degree to which the UN and its related institutions, including the IMF, give a warm welcome — in the name of “neutrality” — to officials of regimes that actively seek to subvert the civilized order that the UN and IMF are supposed to promote...

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