Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It is a disgrace to the founding principles and mission of the United Nations that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be allowed to speak before the body next week during the gathering of its General Assembly. Mr. Ahmadinejad, who is slated to speak next Tuesday in New York City, has openly called for the destruction of Israel, a U.N. member-state.

“God willing, in the near future we will witness the destruction of the corrupt occupier regime,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said in June. In 2005, he claimed that Israel “must be wiped out from the map of the world.”

Such rhetoric has been condemned by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who, despite his strongly worded criticism of Mr. Ahmadinejad, must take more concrete action against the Ahmadinejad regime.

State Department officials have defended Mr. Ahmadinejad’s speaking engagement, saying the U.N. is a place where member states can engage in dialogue, regardless of how the world despises its actions. Such a stance is puzzling. Under the shadow of the Holocaust, the United Nations was founded in 1945 by a war-torn world weary of conflict and was ready to embrace peace, social progress and human rights. Mr. Ahmadinejad has chosen not to engage in a respectful dialogue and is instead calling for another genocide—and of the same original victims. This is in flagrant disregard of the U.N.’s mission.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has rightly expressed outrage at Mr. Ahmadinejad’s presence in New York, pointing out in a letter to Mr. Ban that the despot is supporting Hezbollah’s terrorist efforts, flouting the international community through his nuclear weapons program and supporting Shi’ite militia extremists in Iraq. Mr. Romney commendably called on the United States to reconsider its participation in the U.N. should the body continue to act as a toothless overseer when it comes to Iran.

Republican Sen. John McCain yesterday also condemned Mr. Ahmadinejad’s scheduled visit to American soil. We urge politicians on both sides of the aisle to join these ranks and demand increased U.N. pressure on Mr. Ahmadinejad.

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