Not Really Welcome

The upcoming Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference at the UN headquarters in New York next month is eagerly awaited by the international community and will be attended by delegations of almost 190 nations. Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has meanwhile applied for a visa in order to lead his country’s delegation. Ahmadinejad’s yearly visits in New York on the occasion of United Nations General Assembly sessions have always been downrightly bizarre. The visa will be issued anyway.

In an unprecedented impolitic move, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned Ahmadinejad to try to disrupt UN nuclear talks in a press conference yesterday held together with Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski. Clinton explained that the Obama administration aims to use the conference to push for deeper nuclear disarmament, check the spread of atomic weapons and promote the peaceful use of civilian nuclear energy as AFP reports. According to her blog, she even went further:

“I don’t know what’s the purpose that Iran sees because their record of violations of the nonproliferation obligations that they assumed as a signatory to the NPT is absolutely indisputable. They have been subjected to critical reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency in recent months, laying out a clear set of concerns and questions that the international community has about the program that they have pursued, including covert facilities like the one disclosed last fall at Qom. They are consistently violating United Nations security resolutions about their nuclear program.

“So if President Ahmadinejad wants to come and announce that Iran will abide by their nonproliferation requirements under the NPT, that would be very good news indeed and we would welcome that. But if he believes that by coming he can somehow divert attention from this very important global effort or cause confusion that might possibly throw doubt what Iran has been up to, about which I don’t think there is any room for doubt, then I don’t believe he will have a particularly receptive audience.

“We have seen in the last months growing awareness in the international community of nations that the path Iran is on poses a threat. And there is unanimity in our efforts to try to dissuade Iran. We are in the midst, you know, of discussions with our partners at the United Nations on sanctions that could change the calculus of the Iranian leadership as to their pursuit of nuclear weapon development.

“So we wait and see what he has to say. But the mission of those of us going to New York to review, revise, and reinvigorate the NPT regime is very clear. If that’s not his mission, then it won’t be a particularly useful or productive trip on his part.”

Well, whether Iran is in violation of the NPT may in fact be disputed (the text may be found here). Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has the final saying in any nuclear matters, has time and again declared that nuclear weapons are haram, or un-Islamic, and that Iran is not pursuing their development. It is to be feared, however, that Ahmadinejad would take the same line of poor demeanor as Clinton when in New York. He is pretty much notorious for that.


Last update April 30, 2010.

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