UN Gathering & Private Meeting with Ahmadinejad
News Release by Institute for Public AccuracySTEPHEN
ZUNESZunes was part of a private
two-hour meeting today with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Zunes is
Middle East editor of Foreign Policy in Focus, a professor of politics at the
University of San Francisco, and the author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East
Policy and the Roots of Terrorism.
More InformationIAN WILLIAMSAuthor of the
book The UN For Beginners, Williams writes about the United Nations for
various publications including The Nation and The Guardian. He said today: "UN
Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon may finally be growing into the job. After nine
months of putting his faith in the White House, the U.S. will actually be $2
billion in arrears to the UN by the end of the year, including hundreds of
millions needed for the peacekeeping force in Darfur.
"And after giving
Israel a pass, he has eventually issued a statement sternly condemning Israel's
threat to ... cut off electricity and water to Gaza. Ban-Ki Moon apparently is
beginning to be mindful of the concerns of the non aligned countries as well as
the U.S. and Israel.
"Ahmadinejad is obviously not a human rights poster
boy. But why is he being demonized in this way? Some people want another
disastrous war, this time against Iran. Why is India, and now Israel [both
non-signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty], being allowed nuclear
technology by the U.S., when NPT signatory Iran is threatened with sanctions and
warfare? Selective non-proliferation IS proliferation."
director of the Global Policy Forum which monitors the UN, Paul said today:
"There were many protest signs that read 'Ahmadinejad is Hitler.' There were
also anti-Bush protests, with 'Bush is Hitler' signs. It's sad that people are
using this Hitler analogy so loosely and engaging in a one-dimensional discourse
around the UN General Assembly session. Columbia president Lee Bollinger
betrayed his ignorance on Iran when he called Ahmadinejad a 'dictator' -- since
the Iranian president's power is actually quite limited. No one is thinking
seriously, not even Bollinger, a well-known scholar of the law and free
"At the UN, Bush cynically talked about Burma, Zimbabwe, Darfur
and other crises, to position the United States government as the defender of
justice and human rights, useful diversions from the violence and occupations in
Afghanistan and Iraq. Like most other leaders at the UN, Bush was speaking
firstly to his domestic audience, trying to appear the statesman and even the
supporter of the UN.
"Bush mentioned Iran only very briefly -- a relief
since many expected new threats that might lay the basis for military attacks.
Another small piece of good news from the U.S. president: He announced that the
U.S. would buy grain from local markets following disasters rather than dumping
[U.S. grain]. If true, that would be a change from long-standing and very
damaging policy, that has ruined agriculture in many poor
"The UN gathering of the world's leaders reminds us that they
are a disappointing lot. They offer high-flown rhetoric, but their practice is
tragically short of what we need. They produce 'spin' and a language of power,
when we need truth, honesty and justice."
More InformationFor more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541)
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