Jewish community reiterates call for UN chief to skip Iran confab

Sunday, August 19, 2012
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon
[Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider] 
New York: American Jewish Committee (AJC) again urged UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon to skip a visit to Tehran later this month that the Iranian regime is hoping he will make.

The renewed AJC call comes after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a speech at Tehran University, declared "the existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to all humanity," and vowed that "in the new Middle East there will be no trace of the American presence and the Zionists." The Iranian regime refuses to call Israel by its UN-recognized name.

In addition, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said earlier this week that “Israel would one day be returned to the Palestinian nation and would cease to exist.”

Notably, Secretary General Ban has condemned the Iranian leadership's remarks as "offensive and inflammatory."

In a statement issued to the press, AJC’s Executive Director David Harris said, "We value Secretary General Ban's condemnation, but his skipping the Tehran conference would be the strongest possible rebuke of this Iranian regime and its repeated -- and genocidal -- call for the destruction of another UN member state, Israel.”

AJC first wrote to the secretary general on August 8, urging him not to attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit, which Tehran will host from August 26 to 31. Iran has announced that it expects most of the NAM's 118 member countries, including some 40 heads of state, to attend. AJC also wrote to more than 100 governments urging them, in light of the nature of the Iranian regime, to think twice before attending.

"Secretary General Ban's decision is his alone to make. No UN vote is needed. Critically, what he ultimately decides will send a powerful message to the Iranian regime," said Harris.

He added, "The issue is not NAM, which will continue to exist. It's about taking a principled stand, demonstrating moral backbone, and not conferring unwarranted respectability on Iran's defiant leaders. The time for trying in person to 'persuade' the Iranian leadership of the folly of its views is long past, as one failed attempt after another is all there is to show for these efforts."
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