Leaked US National Security Agency documents have shown that the US ambassador to the United Nations in 2010, Susan Rice, thanked the agency for spying on UN Security Council members and helping Washington’s anti-Iran moves.
The documents which were published in American journalist Glenn Greenwald’s recent book ‘No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the N.S.A., and the U.S. Surveillance State’ showed Rice asked the NSA to spy on UN Security Council members “so that she could develop a strategy” regarding a vote on sanctions against Iran over its nuclear energy program.
In June 2010, twelve members of the UN Security Council voted to approve sanctions against Iran and later that summer Rice thanked the NSA, saying the agency’s spying helped Washington to lead negotiations over the new sanctions against Iran.
She said the NSA’s spying on other permanent members of the UN Security Council — China, England, France, and Russia — “gave us an upper hand in negotiations … and provided information on various countries ‘red lines.’”
According to the document, the NSA also spied on diplomats from other Security Council members — including Bosnia, Gabon, Nigeria, and Uganda — whose embassies and missions were not already under surveillance.
Rice’s order to the NSA in May 2010 to spy on Security Council members was recounted in an internal report by the spy agency’s Special Source Operations division, which works with telecommunications companies on the American network.
US-led sanctions on Iran have been imposed based on the unfounded accusation that Tehran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran’s civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.