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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon succumbed to pressure from Iran and its anti-American allies by deciding to attend a summit meeting in Tehran later this week of the 120-member “Non-Aligned Movement.” Iran is heralding Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Tehran as proof positive of its unbowed diplomatic prowess. Israel and the United States tried to dissuade Ban Ki-moon from attending, but to no avail.
“The extraordinary effort that the Iranian leaders have put into the summit is intended to showcase Iran’s global role and offer concrete evidence that the U.S. policy of isolating Iran has failed,” said Farideh Farhi, an independent Iranian scholar at the University of Hawaii, as quoted by the New York Times.
In an extraordinary display of naiveté, Ban believes that he can use his visit to persuade Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to heed the international community’s concerns about Iran’s behavior in a number of key areas. The Secretary General’s spokesman Martin Nesirky said that Ban expects “meaningful and fruitful discussions” during which he intends to raise directly with his hosts the issues of Iran’s nuclear program, its support for Syrian President Assad’s crackdown, its own human rights violations and its repeated calls for the destruction of Israel. Ban is “fully aware of the sensitivities” of the visit, the spokesman claimed, but not going “would be a missed opportunity.”
A missed opportunity for what? Will Ban Ki-moon follow up on his report last year decrying Iran’s “increased number of executions, amputations, arbitrary arrests and detentions, unfair trials, torture and ill-treatment, particularly the crackdown on opposition activists” with insistence on visiting personally with detained opposition activists while he is in Tehran? There is no indication that Ban intends to meet with opposition leaders currently under house arrest and in jail.
For the umpteenth time, Ahmadinejad and Khamenei have called for the destruction of Israel. Back in February of this year, Khamenei threatened: “The Zionist regime is a cancerous tumor and it will be removed.” He made this threat during the same speech that he vowed to press on with Iran’s nuclear ambitions, irrespective of any sanctions.
Just a few days ago he declared: “The fake Zionist [regime] will disappear from the landscape of geography.”
At the same time it was reported that a new International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report is expected to reveal its suspicions that Iran is installing hundreds of new centrifuges at its underground enrichment facility near Qom, which are capable of enriching uranium to a level even higher than the 20 percent needed for peaceful research purposes. From that level of enrichment, it is not technically difficult to further enrich to the level needed to build nuclear bombs.
Will Ban Ki-moon use his visit to Tehran to publicly insist that the Iranian regime open all of its nuclear facilities immediately to full IAEA inspection without any interference? That’s hardly likely. Instead, we can expect more bromides about good faith negotiations while Iran moves ever closer to becoming a nuclear-armed country.
Threats may be only bluster until the party making the threats has the capability of carrying them out to deadly effect. The world learned that lesson the hard way after ignoring Adolf Hitler’s threats for years.
No matter what Ban Ki-moon will say in private or in public during his Tehran visit, it will not change a thing, any more than British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s visit to Berchtesgaden and Munich to meet with Hitler did anything to prevent World War II. Chamberlain thought that he could reason with Hitler and reach a mutually acceptable compromise allowing Germany to annex the portion of Czechoslovakia known as Sudetendeutsche in return for Hitler’s pledge that this would be his last territorial demand in Europe.
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