The 64th UN General Assembly: Issues to Watch
Posted: September 21, 2009
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has traditionally used his appearance before the UN General Assembly to project his extreme anti-Israel, anti-Semitic and anti-Western views. At last year's General Assembly, Mr. Ahmadinejad blamed Jews and Zionists for causing the financial crisis and for dominating world finance and media. The Iranian president is likely to put his extremism on full view once again, when he addresses the 64th General Assembly.
Although the Obama administration recently agreed to participate in a new round of talks with Iran, along with representatives of Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, the Iranian government has already made clear its refusal to negotiate over its nuclear program. If, as seems likely, the international community is rebuffed by Iran on the nuclear issue, a sanctions plan needs to be ready to induce Iran to end its nuclear weapons program. A policy of prevention, rather than containment, must be pursued.
The Iranian regime's brutal suppression of dissent in the period following the June 14 election clearly demonstrates its radical nature and willful dismissal of international norms of governance and democracy. It is clear that nuclear weapons in the hands of this increasingly radical and reckless regime would lead to a dangerous geo-strategic shift in the Middle East potentially leading to a nuclear arms race in the region. Nuclear weapons would bolster Iran's aggressive and destructive foreign policy, and presents a direct and existential threat to Israel and other countries in the region. A nuclear-armed Iran could potentially use this technology to hit at American and European targets as well.
Iran's words and actions have made it clear that they are quickly progressing toward building a nuclear weapon and the ability to deliver it to target. At the same time, Iran remains a state sponsor of terrorism – funding and training terrorist organizations and cultivating extremist forces. Its leaders have repeatedly called for Israel's demise and have propagated base anti-Semitism, including the denial of the Holocaust.