Ismat Kittani began his career with the United Nations in 1958 when he was appointed Acting Permanent Representative of Iraq to United Nations Headquarters. In 1961 he was reassigned to serve as Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations Office in Geneva. In 1964, Mr. Kittani returned to New York to join the UN Secretariat, serving in senior positions under five Secretaries-General including an appointment as Assistant Secretary-General by Kurt Waldheim in 1973.
Mr. Kittani served as the head of the Iraq Foreign Ministry Department of International Organizations and conferences from 1975 to 1980. While serving as Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs in Iraq, Mr. Kittani served as President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1981 and 1982. Following this, he returned to the Iraqi Foreign Service; and later rejoined the United Nations in 1989 when he was named senior political adviser to Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
Although officially retired when this interview was conducted on 16 October 1997, Mr. Kittani was still serving the United Nations in a reduced capacity as a consultant. In this interview Mr. Kittani shared his thoughts on the motivation of the Iraqi regime and Secretary-General Pérez de Cuéllar's handling of the Iraq-Iran War.