In the theater of the absurd that is too often the United Nations, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will participate in a meeting on disarmament when he attends the 65th session of the General Assembly this week. This is a figure who has united much of the international community to condemn his regime’s nuclear program. And somehow, the United Nations will welcome him at discussions on disarmament. The hypocrisy meter is on overdrive.
Inviting the leader of the brutal Tehran regime, which makes a mockery of the principle of disarmament, to address the main deliberative body of the United Nations is completely at odds with the U.N.’s charter: “We the peoples of the United Nations determined: to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained…”
The brutality of the Tehran regime is well documented and contrary to the U.N. mission on just about every front: Iran is one of the worst human rights abusers on the planet, jailing, torturing, and executing dissidents. There are no equal rights for men and women in Iran. In fact, women have virtually no rights. Iran executes more juvenile offenders than any other country. By serving as the world’s major benefactor of terrorism through the Revolutionary Guard, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and now Hamas, Iran does not uphold the dignity and worth of the human person. To the contrary, Iran has proven in countless ways that it has no respect for human life.
It is unconscionable that the U.N. has received Ahmadinejad twice this year (in a previous act of audacity, Ahmadinejad attended a May nuclear non-proliferation conference).
Time and again, Iran—perhaps the most urgent nuclear proliferation threat in the world right now—stalls, lies, and conceals its efforts. It has denied entry to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors. This is the same IAEA that is closely tied to the U.N. system.
In the week leading up to the General Assembly gathering, the 35-member IAEA board met in Vienna to discuss Iran’s overall stonewalling of the inspection process. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano issued a harsh condemnation of Iran’s lack of cooperation with the agency’s inspection program. Amano particularly cited Iran’s longstanding lack of disclosure to the nuclear watchdog.
So in Vienna we have the top international nuclear official admonishing Iran on its conduct of nuclear activities, while in New York, Iran will have a seat at U.N. talks on disarmament. This disconnect is astonishing and cannot be taken lightly.
Iran, easily one of the most dangerous, disingenuous, and duplicitous nations in the world, has been given the benefit of the doubt too many times. The international community has, at long last, begun to get serious about Iran’s threat level, and is implementing sanctions that may finally be having an impact on Tehran. The United Nations must follow the example of key world powers and no longer turn a blind eye to Iran’s nuclear program.
In his brazen disregard for global disarmament efforts, Ahmadinejad spreads instability and conflict in the international community.
His participation in a disarmament meeting is sure to be yet another dramatic performance; the world needs to follow a different script.
Daniel S. Mariaschin is executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International