…the statesman, getting ready to address the UN General Assembly:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday disregarded a U.N. warning to avoid incendiary rhetoric and declared ahead of the annual General Assembly session that Israel has no roots in the Middle East and would be “eliminated.”…
On Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Ahmadinejad and warned him of the dangers of incendiary rhetoric in the Middle East. Ahmadinejad did not heed the warning.
Ahmadinejad alluded to his previous rejection of Israel’s right to exist. “Iran has been around for the last seven, 10 thousand years. They (the Israelis) have been occupying those territories for the last 60 to 70 years, with the support and force of the Westerners. They have no roots there in history,” he said, speaking to reporters through an interpreter…
“We do believe that they have found themselves at a dead end and they are seeking new adventures in order to escape this dead end. Iran will not be damaged with foreign bombs,” Ahmadinejad said, referring to Israel.
“We don’t even count them as any part of any equation for Iran. During a historical phase, they represent minimal disturbances that come into the picture and are then eliminated,” Ahmadinejad added.
In 2005, Ahmadinejad called Israel a “tumor” and echoed the words of the former Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, by saying that Israel should be wiped off the map.
The article contains some unintentional humor, particularly Ban Ki-moon’s warning against incendiary rhetoric.
Another interesting point is that Wednesday, the day Ahmadinejad is scheduled to give his non-incendiary speech to the General Assembly, is Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. It is probably the most important and somber holiday of the entire Jewish religion, beginning (as all Jewish holidays do) on the evening before. But the bulk of the holiday is Wednesday.
I very much doubt that Ahmadinejad is unaware of that fact (see this).
In other news, there’s “noise” to ignore, as Obama speaks out of both sides of his mouth:
In an interview to air tonight on CBS’s 60 Minutes, President Barack Obama will refer to Israel’s concern over Iran’s march toward a nuclear program as “noise.”
“When it comes to our national security decisions — any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out — any noise that’s out there,” Obama says, according to AFP…
“When it comes to our national security decisions—any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out—any noise that’s out there. Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we’re in close consultation with the Israelis—on these issues. Because it affects them deeply. They’re one of our closest allies in the region. And we’ve got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel’s existence.”…
AFP also reports that Obama will say that “he understands and agrees with Netanyahu’s insistence that Iran not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons as this would threaten both countries, the world in general, and kick off an arms race.”
But, as the article points out, Obama will not be meeting with Netanyahu this week during the United Nations General Assembly.
I will say one thing for Obama: this Iran/Israel business is an incredibly difficult problem, with no easy solutions. Perhaps even no solutions at all. But Obama has approached it in one of the worst possible ways, by communicating weakness, indecision, and extremely tepid support (or none at all) for Israel, “one of our closest allies in the region.”