UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent official greetings to Tehran’s recent “anti-terrorism” conference, hailing the gathering as “timely and important.” The UN now has an obligation to condemn Iran for using that event — as detailed below — to spread virulent hatred. UN Watch’s demand for action has been broadcast worldwide, published today as an op-ed in the New York Daily News, covered by media including Fox News, the Montreal Gazette, the Jerusalem Post, CNS News, and reported in blogs such as UN Dispatch and The Rosett Report.
By Hillel Neuer
Wednesday, June 29th 2011
I feel let down. Not a week after my organization welcomed the reelection of UN chief Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general sent praise to Iran for organizing an “anti-terror” conference – which is akin to a Bernie Madoff initiative on combating fraud.
Ban’s endorsement was especially surprising because he’s shown that he knows right from wrong when it comes to the dangerous radicals who run Iran.
On Jan. 1, 2007, his first day in office, Ban slammed a Holocaust denial conference organized by Iran, as well as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s call to eliminate Israel.
This past September, when Ahmadinejad declared before the UN that “segments within the U.S. government” orchestrated 9/11, Ban called the statement “unacceptable.”
Likewise, in January, Ban became the first UN chief to blast one of his own human rights officials. When Richard Falk, the UN Human Rights Council’s permanent investigator on Palestine, similarly suggested that 9/11 was an inside job, Ban condemned him immediately, saying the remarks were “an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in the attack.”
All of this begs the question: Why did the world leader not steer clear of this past weekend’s “International Conference on Global Fight Against Terrorism,” an outrageous farce organized by the mullahs in Tehran?
Ban knows that Iran has been classified by the State Department as the world’s “most active state sponsor of terrorism.” That it arms Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. That Iran was behind the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85.
Ban also knows that the Iranian regime has been killing its own people, attacking peaceful protesters who challenged the fraudulent 2009 elections.
Lastly, Ban knows that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is aiding Syrian President Bashar Assad in his own bloody crackdown, and that Iran is under UN Security Council sanctions for violating international law in its covert pursuit of a nuclear bomb.
As for the conference, it was entirely predictable.
The opening message of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the U.S. and Britain of having “a black record in terrorist behaviors.” He also attacked “terrorist organizations such as the Zionism International Agency.”
Then came Ahmadinejad. “If the black box of the 9/11 incident and the Holocaust were opened,” he said, “then some of the truth would be exposed, but the United States does not allow this.”
The conference also gave a platform to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, against whom there is an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court on the charge of genocide.
This perversity was aided by the UN’s imprimatur. Ban sent a message to the conference, read out by a UN official, praising it as “timely and important.” Of course, Iran loved the endorsement: “UN Chief Praises Tehran’s Anti-Terror Initiative,” blared a headline of Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency.
A UN spokesman defended Ban’s blessing, saying that “the UN believes that it is important for all nations to work together in the fight against terrorism.”
By that logic, the Chinese Communist Party might as well organize a conference on Internet freedom and open society.
Diplomacy cannot trump decency. Ban should immediately distance the UN from this shameful conference, which was an insult to victims of Iranian terrorism, to the victims among Iran’s own people and to the victims of 9/11 and the Holocaust.
Until the secretary general recovers his moral bearings, the start of his second term will be tainted.
Neuer is the executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights organization.