Monday, September 26, 2011
Ahmadinejad’s UN rant: No mention of Arab spring, deep-rooted protests back home
UNITED NATIONS — Even by the politically paranoid standards of his past speeches, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s address to the UN General Assembly, brought the term bizarre to a whole new level. His venomous rant to assembled delegations, accusing those countries “who used the mysterious September 11th incident as a pretext to attack Afghanistan and Iraq,” prompted a walkout by diplomats from the USA as well as twenty-nine delegations, from Canada to the European Union states.
One could pass this off as merely hateful political theatre, a Middle Eastern dictator seeking the limelight in New York, and holding the rostrum before an uneasy audience.
His rambling address exhibited a rhetorical mélange of crackpot theories, mysticism, and tub-thumping hate speech mired in the political pornography of Holocaust denial and September 11th innuendo. Yet more significantly, his address was notable for what it failed to say. There was only a passing reference to the Palestinians, no mention of the tumultuous Arab Spring political movements which have swept the Middle East from Tunisia to Syria, and perhaps most notably not about the Islamic Republic of Iran’s emerging nuclear weapons capacity.
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Why? Tehran-backed terrorist proxies such as Hamas in Gaza, and Hizbullah in Lebanon oppose the mainstream Palestinian political efforts to achieve statehood.
Moreover, the Arab Spring popular protests are buffeting the parapets of the Syrian regime, and it’s not to be forgotten that Tehran and Damascus share cozy political kinship. And as for the nuclear issue, the UN’s IAEA watchdog group openly warns about Tehran’s growing capacity to achieve a nuclear weapons capacity.
Most importantly, the President’s speech laid-down a calculated rhetorical smoke screen to hide the deep internal troubles inside Iran itself, masked a percolating political resistance to his disputed rule, and obscured the popular wider opposition to the Islamic Republic’s rigid theocracy.
|Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly, on Sept. 22. AP/Richard Drew
Ahmadinjad’s caustic comments spoke of the West’s “sinister goals,” while launching the rhetorical offensive basically blaming the West for just about everything short of an evil alliance with space aliens. He stressed, “By using their imperialistic media network which is under the influence of colonialism they threaten anyone who questions the Holocaust and the September 11 event with sanctions and military action.”
Speaking shortly after Ahmadinejad, British Prime Minister David Cameron countered; “They do everything they can to avoid the accountability of a free media…they violently prevent demonstrations, and they detain and torture those who argue for a better future.”
Outside the UN, thousands of Iranian-Americans from all political persuasions protested the Iranian ruler’s speech. Former American UN Ambassador John Bolton addressed the crowd calling for an overthrow of the Islamic regime.
Sadly since the onset of radical theocratic rule in 1979, what later emerged as the Islamic Republic of Iran has deliberately debased the ancient Persian culture and ruined socio/ economic prospects for two generations by turning what should be a prosperous land into a place of penury for most of its 76 million citizens. If it were not for high petroleum prices, Iran’s economy would have collapsed long ago.
So in what now has become a sordid annual ritual, President Ahmadinejad’s diatribe from the marble rostrum of the UN, looking for legitimacy where he has little, and making baseless accusations, and lifting the debate to the theatre of the absurd does little to solve global crises. Darkness at noon has descended on the proud Persian nation; one can only hope that a new light of Persia will soon again shine.
John J. Metzler is a U.N. correspondent covering diplomatic and defense
issues. He writes weekly for WorldTribune.com.