WASHINGTON - The United States said Tuesday it was backing Iraq's and Afghanistan's bids to join the World Trade Organization but said there was no consensus on Iran's effort to join.
Baghdad and Kabul were expected to present their candidacies December 13 to join the multilateral organization, which must make a unanimous recommendation. Iran also will try to join but its efforts have been stymied 19 times by the United States in recent years.
"The United States supports the applications of Afghanistan and Iraq for membership in the World Trade Organization, and we believe that there is broad support within the organization for these applications," State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said.
"We would note that there is not the same consensus in the organization on the question of Iran's accession. And so we'll see what comes out of the meeting," Ereli added, noting: "I'd say there's a general lack of consensus."
"This is a position that we've had for eight years," a senior State Department official said privately of Iran. "For their candidacy to be considered there has to be consensus and there isn't that consensus."