Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Yom Kippur, but he won’t be asking for forgiveness. Instead, he will rail against the U.S. and Israel, perhaps repeat his call for the destruction of the Zionists and defend his country’s quest to develop its nuclear program, which he insists is peaceful.
No doubt a few delegates will walk out in protest, but otherwise the Iranian leader’s abhorrent behavior, in violation of the prohibition against incitement to genocide under the Genocide Convention, will go unchecked.
All the more reason why we applaud the action of the Canadian government, which last week announced that it was closing its embassy in Tehran and expelling all Iranian diplomats from Canada.
John Baird, Canada’s foreign minister, noted that his country views the government of Iran as “the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today.”
He cited the fact that Iran supports Syrian President Assad’s bloody assault against his own people, “refuses to comply with UN regulations” against its nuclear program, “routinely threatens the existence of Israel and engages in racist, anti-Semitic rhetoric and incitement to genocide,” is among “the worst violators of human rights,” and supports terrorist groups.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been one of the most outspoken supporters of Israel among world leaders.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and major American Jewish groups praised Canada for taking a bold, moral stand, and encouraged other countries to do the same. (The U.S. has not had an active embassy in Iran since the hostage crisis of 1979.)
Irwin Cotler, the Canadian member of Parliament and former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, who has written widely on the Iranian threat, points out that Tehran makes use, in its international dealings, of what he calls “the three Ds — denial, deception and delay.”
He has called for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to be placed on Canada’s list of terrorist groups (just this week its leader said “nothing will remain in Israel” if it or another country attacked Iran) and for the leaders in Tehran to be held accountable for “incitement to genocide.”
We urge other democracies to follow Canada’s lead, taking moral responsibility and leadership in indicating that Iran’s world-threatening behavior puts it outside the bounds of the family of nations.