Keep Mahmoud Ahmadinejad out of the United States. He is not the legitimate leader of Iran, as the peoples’ revolt against his fraudulent ‘election’ so clearly demonstrates. He has no business representing Iran at the United Nations.
Ahmadinejad has the blood of his own countrymen on his hands. He has threatened Israel – a member state of the United Nations – with genocidal extinction. And he is responsible for Iran’s flouting of a succession of Security Council resolutions calling for Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program.
For all these reasons, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican of Florida, sent a letter to President Obama calling on him to deny Ahmadinejad's request to enter the United States.
"Our responsibility as the UN's host country is trumped by our national security," she said in a statement.
"The focus for the U.S. as the UN General Assembly meeting approaches should be on securing the adoption and enforcement of broader and stronger UN Security Council sanctions on the Iranian regime, and on cutting off nuclear technical assistance from the International Atomic Energy Agency to Iran," she said. "The U.S. must not allow Ahmadinejad or any Iranian regime official into the U.S. for the September UN meeting".
Don’t hold your breath waiting for Obama’s positive response to Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s suggestion. Indeed, during a press conference at UN headquarters that I attended on September 2nd, in which UN ambassador Susan Rice outlined the program of the Security Council for September while the United States holds the Council presidency seat, Rice fell back on the host country’s duties to admit all invitees of the United Nations in response to a question about the upcoming visit of Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi.
Since UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon presumably extended the UN’s invitation to Ahmadinejad in the first place, he should immediately reverse his decision and rescind the invitation.
"Instead of sending letters of congratulation to Ahmadinejad for his rigged victory, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, together with the member states, should be denying the tyrant any international recognition, which would automatically bar him from the rostrum," said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch.
That has less of a chance of happening than Obama’s deciding to keep Ahmadinejad out of the country. So at minimum, Ahmadinejad’s movements should be confined to the immediate radius of the UN headquarters on First Avenue (and 42nd to 46th Streets) and the Permanent Mission of Iran at the United Nations located at 622 Third Ave. (at 40th Street). No more speeches at Columbia University or at other venues around New York.
If we cannot or will not bar Ahmadinejad from landing in the United States, then President Obama should confront him when he is here. Obama should use the special summit session of the UN Security Council on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation scheduled for September 24th, over which he will be presiding, as the occasion to strongly condemn both Iran and North Korea for their aggressive nuclear programs. But that is not likely to happen either.
In describing the Security Council’s priorities during her press conference, Ambassador Rice said “We have three sanctions regimes that are up for regular review, chaired by the heads of the sanctions committees. We have Sudan, Iran and North Korea, and these are, I expect, likely to be uneventful and routine considerations of these various regimes”. (Emphasis added)
Routine? Uneventful? What exactly does Ambassador Rice consider important enough to be the focus of the Obama-led Security Council session on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation? Apparently not the two rogue states with nuclear ambitions. “This is not an opportunity to review or revisit the nature of either of those regimes”, she said.
When I asked Ambassador Rice whether the U.S. will be contributing a concrete proposal to help guide the outcome of that meeting since it is being led by President Obama, she had no substantive response. Here is her non-answer:
“We're obviously chairing the Council and chairing that summit. We proposed this initiative. We have an interest in the quality of its outcome. And obviously, what we are suggesting and consulting with our colleagues on reflects the thinking and the aims of the U.S. government. But obviously, any product of the Council is a product of 15, and I'm simply reflecting that reality in saying that this will be a process of consultation and discussion; and what, if anything, emerges will be a consequence not only of what the United States might propose but what others embrace”.
Which begs the question - why we are wasting everyone’s time and our country’s prestige with a meaningless discussion, while not confronting the proverbial elephant in the room?