JERRY GORDON: ON AHMADINEJAD… THERE HE GOES AGAIN…PERHAPS FOR THE LAST TIME
A tip of the hat to Jack de Lowe
Diminutive President Ahmadinejad held forth at a speech at UN General Assembly Rule of Law forum and in a press conference on Monday in Manhattan. The Israeli delegation walked out, while the US delegation stayed put – perhaps another display of the Obama’s engagement, label it appeasement, policy towards the Islamic Republic. The Rule of law speech by Ahmadinejad speech was perhaps a bon mot before his major valedictory address at the UN General Assembly session. We say that because, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei back in Tehran and he are on the outs, so his chances of running for a third term may be remote.
In his Rule of Law speech, Ahmadinejad was true to form. As noted by Toronto Star’s Olivia Ward in a report, “Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes ironic appearance at UN meeting”, he rattled off some of the usual calumnies we have come to expect:
At a special session on Rule of Law on Monday, the diminutive 55-year-old called for an end to veto powers in the Security Council, for the return of the Palestinian territories to their “rightful owners,” and for a prohibition on the UN’s use of force.
It was mild by the standards of a leader who has denied the Holocaust and said that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were a plot to boost the American economy. But for those who study Iran’s human rights record, it was bitterly ironic coming from a country with a steadily rising toll of executions and a lengthening list of rights violations.
“Law enforcement authorities must be trustworthy, dedicated, fair . . . impartial and defenders of the rights of the public,” Ahmadinejad told delegates. “The law should be enforced correctly and fairly, based on knowledge and prudence.”
Note these Comments from Hillel Neuer of UNWatch:
“Iran’s president lecturing on the rule of law is like a pyromaniac expounding on fire safety,” said Hillel Neuer, director of the Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch, and a fierce critic of Iran. “Ahmadinejad is a fraudulently elected leader whose regime bars women from university education, rapes dissidents, persecutes the Baha’i and other minorities, and hangs gays . . .
“The whole thing’s absurd — but it’s not the least bit funny if you’re being tortured in a Tehran prison.”
Canadian Hamid Ghassemi-Shall and Canadian resident Saeed Malekpour are currently on death row in Iran.
However, the real show was the presser with the Media, which was more revealing. NBC news was there and filed a report, “Pugnacious Iranian president rips Israel, US ahead of final UN speech”, on the real Ahmadinejad positions on Israel, the US, and Salman Rushdie death Fatwas. Here are some salient excerpts:
In a meeting with reporters that was billed as an exchange of views rather than a press conference, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continued his drumbeat of attacks on Israel’s legitimacy on Monday and warned that an Israeli attack on Iran could have ramifications for U.S. bases in the region.
He also pointedly noted that author Salman Rushdie could still face danger as a result of a recently renewed fatwa against him and called the U.S. decision last week to remove the People’s Mujahedin of Iran from the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations a “gift” to the Iranian government.
Ahmadinejad was in New York for his eighth — and final –U.N. General Assembly meeting as Iran’s president. Ahmadinejad, who will exit the presidency in June after two terms, will address the General Assembly on Wednesday.
As he has in the past, Ahmadinejad dismissed Israel both as a threat to Iran and as a legitimate government. Referring to recent military threats by Israeli government officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, over Iran’s nuclear program, Ahmadinejad said that they are not of “utmost importance” to him or Iran.
“Whether he’s bluffing doesn’t come into the equation for us,” Ahmadinejad said of Netanyahu. “Put a map in front of you, an atlas. Iran has been Iran for the last seven to ten thousand years. They’ve been occupying that territory for 60 years. They have no roots there in history. They do not enter the equation for Iran.”
But while Reuters quoted Ahmadinejad as calling for Israel to be “eliminated,” the official translation of his remarks indicated that he steered clear of the fiery rhetoric he is best known for.
Reminded that he was quoted as saying several years ago that Israel should be wiped off the map, the Iranian president responded that he only wants Iran’s neighbor to change its behavior. “We say occupation must be done away with,” he said. “We say war seeking and war mongering must be eliminated. We say threats must be eliminated. Threatening manners and ways must be eliminated. Destroying people’s homes on the head of their wives and children must be done away with and eliminated.
Ahmadinejad added that more important is “the political atmosphere that allows them to threaten — and not be condemned for it. Where is the organization that rules the world today that allows them to act so rudely?”
Iran subtlety criticized U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon earlier this month for condemning Iranian officials’ comments on Israel while saying nothing about Israeli officials’ threats against Iran. Iran’s ambassador called Ban’s criticism an “irony.”
Asked whether Iran would go after U.S. targets should Israel attack Iran, Ahmadinejad said that if an attack does come, “All equations would see a deep change.”
Ahmadinejad also was asked by “New Yorker” editor David Remnick if the fatwa against Rushdie still stood. The fatwa, first issued by the late Ayatollah Sayyed Ruhollah Musavi Khomenei following Rushdie’s publication of “The Satanic Verses,” was withdrawn in 1998, but recently, an Iranian religious foundation renewed it an offered $3.3 million to any Muslim who kills Rushdie.
“Where is he now?” a smiling Ahmadinejad repeatedly asked Remnick, who has published Rushdie in the pages of his magazine. “If he is in the United States, you should not broadcast that, for his own safety.”
The Iranian president also fielded a question about the U.S. State Department’s decision Friday to remove the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, an Iranian dissident group commonly known as the MEK, from the U.S. list of terrorist groups, permitting them to operate freely in the United States.
Claiming the MEK has killed 16,000 Iranian civilians and “is a terrorist group,” Ahmadinejad said that the U.S. hurt itself with the Iranian people by recognizing a group he said had “no value.”
“We believe that this action contains response in itself,” he said when asked by NBC News if Iran planned a response to the U.S. move. “If we wanted to show the double standards in behavior, we couldn’t have done it any better ourselves. They gave us a gift. We got result for free. We regret their (State Department) action but should be grateful. They work to our advantage.”
On Wednesday, Yom Kippur, holiest day in the Jewish religious calendar, Ahmadinejad will have his last opportunity to pillory Israel and the US, spew more of his holocaust denial and convey taqiyyah on the real intent of Iran’s nuclear program. See our post on Iran’s Defense Minister’s comments about a “big War” bringing back the Twelfth Imam Mahdi. Outside the UN’s in adjacent Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Iranian ex-pats will protest Ahmadinejad mistreatment of their comrades in the Islamic Republic promoting regime change. On Thursday, Israel supporters will rally at the Israeli consulate in support of the Jewish nation and Never Again Day, the latter to highlight Iran’s nuclear program that is a threat to America and its ally Israel.
As noted Ms. Ward in her Toronto Star report, there was one tongue in cheek protest by the New York Post:
The New York Post, a tabloid that regularly lampoons Ahmadinejad, reportedly tried but failed to deliver a “welcome basket” to his delegation, including traditional Jewish foods like Manischewitz gefilte fish and a ticket to the off-Broadway comedy Old Jews Telling Jokes.
Hopefully, the Joke will not be lost on Ahmadinejad and Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei.
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