AH’JAD WILL OUTWIT OBAMA AT COMING NUKE SUMMIT: BENNY AVNI….NY SUN
Iran Set to Out-Maneuver Obama in A-Bomb Parley at United Nations
UNITED NATIONS â€”Â President Ahmadinejad, in a political masterstroke, appears set to throw Â President Obamaâ€™s disarmament strategy into turmoil â€“ and all the Iranian flame thrower has to do is show up.
The Iranian is set to do this Monday, when he will seek to sway world opinion and turn the attention from his world-threatening nuclear program to Israel. In past administrations, such bait and switch tricks would have been laughed at, but the current administrationâ€™s Turtle Bay-based foreign policy favors Mr. Ahmadinejad.
Jewish organizations are calling on United Nations delegates to walk out when Mr. Ahmadinejad takes the podium midday Monday. Some may do just that, but the Iranian president is a big U.N. draw: even those who disagree with him know he is a headline-grabber and therefore they are transfixed by his star power.
Among the 188 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signatories, only Iran sent a head of state to the treatyâ€™s 5-year review conference, scheduled to open at the United Nations Monday. As the most senior official in the room, Mr. Ahmadinejad is slated to open the session, hoping to set the tone and agenda of the month-long conference.
Mr. Ahmadinejad is expected to plead with his audience to ignore Iranâ€™s many violations of the NPT and concentrate instead on Israelâ€™s nuclear program. Israel has pointedly declined to sign the NPT, while maintaining a policy of ambiguity about its possession of an arsenal that is widely believed to include nuclear weapons. India and Pakistan have not signed the treaty either, and North Korea withdrew from it to pursue a nuclear weapon.
As a non-signatory, Israel will not attend the U.N. conference. But its name is expected to be raised as often as that of Iran, as the many detractors of the Jewish state attempt to equate the two countries. Mr. Ahmadinejad will try to maximize a feeling among many U.N. members that there is a â€œdouble standardâ€ where Israelâ€™s weapons are left alone, while America and its allies continually punish Iran for pursuing a bomb.
The internationalists who surround Mr. Obama extol formal treaties and value declarations of peaceful intent. While saying America will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, some in Washington, though not all, seem to take seriously the accusation that Iran is being treated unfairly.
Secretary of State Clinton said last week that Mr. Ahmadinejad â€œcan somehow divert attention from this very important global effort or cause confusion,â€ but, she added, â€œI donâ€™t believe heâ€™ll have a particularly receptive audience.â€
Others in the administration are reportedly weighing an idea, pushed by Egypt and others, to convene a Middle East conference to promote a nuclear-free zone in the region. Israel will be hard pressed to join such a conference, which would force it to change a nuclear policy it believes has worked for decades to deter regional regimes that have threatened it with annihilation.
â€œThe issue of the Middle East is a complicated and difficult one,â€ the American ambassador here, Susan Rice told this reporter last week. â€œItâ€™s one that weâ€™re working with Egypt and others on.â€ Yes, she added, Iran will be on the agenda of this weekâ€™s conference, but â€œwe think that this is much bigger than any one country, and our aims are universal, and we will approach it in that vein.â€
American administrations have long supported â€œthe goalâ€ of a Middle Eastern nuclear-free zone. Israel, too, supports the idea of a region without any weapons of mass destruction. But, like past American administrations, Israel believes such disarmament agreements could be signed only after all countries have signed peace treaties with it. Since the days of John F. Kennedy, no American administration has contemplated leaning on Israel to sign the NPT and end the ambiguity on its program.
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