Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should not be welcomed at the United Nations. The Iranian President is expected to speak at the U.N. General Assembly in New York this Wednesday. Ahmadinejad’s record, both in rhetoric and leadership, makes it clear that he is a pernicious ideologue undeserving of the liberty and protection of free speech.
Ahmadinejad is not worthy of the platform of the U.N., an organization meant to facilitate international peace and cooperation.
Ahmadinejad is way past shouting fire in a crowded theater. His speeches are infamous for their inflammatory and hateful nature. He’s unabashedly made public, at the United Nations and elsewhere, his intent to wipe a fellow U.N. member off the map.
In past appearances at the U.N., Ahmadinejad has used the platform to conduct public Holocaust denial. Evidenced by his visceral Jew-hatred, Ahmadinejad’s discernible intent of downplaying and denying the Holocaust is to repeat it.
Most troubling, though, are Iran’s attempts to conceal its nuclear program. For years, Tehran has been lying to the International Atomic Energy Agency about the true nature of its nuclear program.
Just last week a senior Iranian official confirmed that Tehran has been providing the IAEA with false information, alternating their story from claims of peaceful energy production to outright denial. This recent news has led many to fearfully speculate that Iran could be as close as 90 percent of the way to obtaining a nuclear bomb.
You might be thinking: Many countries in the world have nuclear weapons. Why shouldn’t Iran have the same right? As I’ve written here and elsewhere, Iranian leadership has proven itself to be a threat to Israel and world peace. As such, it would be dangerously naïve of us to treat them with anything less than a zero-tolerance stance when it comes to nuclear weapons.
But it is not just supporters of Israel who should object to Ahmadinejad being given a public platform at the U.N. to espouse his hate and bigotry. Anyone who cares about human rights, the treatment of women and gays or basic civil liberties ought to take a stand.
When speaking at Columbia University in 2007, Ahmadinejad was asked why Iran inflicts draconian punishments on homosexuals. His answer: “I don’t know who’s told you we have this phenomenon like you do. We have no gays in Iran. It is not a problem there.”
Ahmadinejad’s foolish denial that any homosexuals exist in Iran, reminiscent of his Holocaust denial, stems from his desire to rid his country of gays.
Ahmadinejad operates from a certain sense of lunacy. His fundamental worldview takes him out of the realm of productive political discourse.
“But wait,” you might say. “What about respect for dissenting views? Isn’t that an American value?”
Yes, tolerance for diversity in outlooks and customs is a virtue. But it’s not just Ahmadinejad’s ideologies that are so dangerous. His leadership, along with the broader governance of the Islamic Republic of Iran, has demonstrated itself to be as materially pernicious as it is hateful.
Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world, funding Islamic Jihadist groups like Hamas. Ahmadinejad’s Iran is also guilty of committing severe human rights violations against its own citizens. This was most noticeable in the public, bloody suppression of Iranians protesting the 2009 rigged presidential election, which resulted in another term for Ahmadinejad.
This is also important because it shows that Ahmadinejad does not represent Iranians. He is a leader in the dictatorial sense. His despotic leadership is grounded in intimidation and force, characteristic of any war criminal, all the while betraying the people he is supposed to represent.
Excluding someone from the liberty and protection of free speech should be a difficult decision. But looking at Ahmadinejad with open eyes makes it easy.
As college students, partisans of the free world and supporters of peace, we ought to recognize the danger behind Iranian nuclear ambitions and Ahmadinejad’s human rights violations. Most importantly, we ought to have clarity on the fact that Ahmadinejad is unwelcome at the U.N.