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WikiLeaks: US Pressured UN Climate Chief to Block Iranian Scientist From Job

The head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Rajendra Pachauri (file photo)

Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables alleged Tuesday that the U.S. government helped blocked the appointment of an Iranian scientist to a key role on an international climate change panel.

According to the documents released by WikiLeaks to The Guardian, newspaper, the U.S. privately lobbied U.N. climate chief Rajendra Pachauri to bar Mostafa Jafari from being elected as co-chairman of a key working group on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The leaked 2008 cables said Pachauri agreed to the U.S. position on the issue, a claim he denies. A spokesman for Pachauri told The Guardian that the climate chief "neither influenced, nor agreed to influence, the election," saying it was outside his mandate and "impossible" to achieve.

The U.S. State department said in the classified documents that it would be "problematic" and "potentially at odds" with its foreign policy toward Iran to have an Iranian hold the panel position.

The cables call Jafari a "highly qualified scientist," but say his position as a "senior Iranian government employee" would "significantly complicate" funding for the IPCC working group.

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