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Irwin Cotler

 
AHMADINEJAD ADDRESSED UN ON YOM KIPPUR: COTLER CALLED UPON CLINTON AND BAN TO EXCLUDE AHMADINEJAD FROM US -AS WAS DONE WITH ARAFAT AND WALDHEIM

by Rhonda Spivak, September 23, 2012

 

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has arrived in New York City [he is staying at the Warwick Hotel, where there will be protesters denouncing the hotel for allowing him to stay there].

He is being allowed into the US to deliver an address on Yom Kippur of all days. He is being handed a platform from the US State Department  where he will no doubt  incite violence from the center of the UN, not far from Ground Zero. This is a man who advocates genocide against Israel, sponsors terrorism around the world, is on the verge of acquiring a nuclear bomb, works to  commit terrorist attacks on American soil, kills and kidnaps Americans abroad, and brutalizes his own people.

Anne Bayevsky outlines in an article entitled "White House Hands Iran's Ahmadinejad A Global Megaphone" http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/09/11/white-house-hands-iran-ahmadinejad-global-megaphone/, why it is that the United States could have denied Ahmadinejad entry to the  United States just as they had done earlier with Yassir Arafat. As she writes:

 "Many argue that the 1947 Headquarters Agreement between the UN and the U.S. leaves no room for the White House to maneuver on this point. The deal that was struck states that the U.S. government “shall not impose any impediments to transit to or from the headquarters district” (a defined area in New York City’s east side) to a representative of a UN member state.

But the same agreement also says the following: “It is agreed that no form of racial or religious discrimination shall be permitted within the headquarters district.”

... If the agreement were applied as it should be, “no form of racial or religious discrimination” would mean no President Ahmadinejad in New York.

In 1988 Yassir Arafat, then Head of the Palestine Liberation Organization was denied a visa and unimpeded transit when he tried to address the General Assembly, despite the objections of UN legal counsel. The State Department pointed to the "security reservation" that Congress had attached to the resolution which brought the Headquarters Agreement into force. Congress had stipulated that nothing in the agreement diminished or weakened “the right of the United States to safeguard its own security...”

Surely, the security threat posed by aiding and abetting Ahmadinejad is as great or greater than the threat posed by Arafat.

Denying Ahmadinejad a New York launching pad also meets the expectations of the UN Charter itself – since all UN members have “resolved” “to reaffirm faith…in the dignity and worth of the human person,” “to establish conditions under which justice…can be maintained,” and “to employ international machinery for the promotion of…advancement of all peoples.”

But the Obama administration is not enabling Ahmadinejad’s warmongering hate speech just because today’s state department lawyers assert that their hands are tied. Legitimizing the presence of the Iranian president in the United States on the world stage is a key tenet of President Obama’s foreign policy. It goes by various lofty names like 'diplomacy' or 'engagement.' "

On Friday, September 21, former Minister of Justice, Irwin Cotler, sent a letter to Secretary Clinton and UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon calling on them forcefully to prevent  Ahmadinejad from entering the US and speaking at the UN.  A copy of these compelling letters are set out in full below [and are definitely worth a read].

On September 23, the  US denied entry to 20 Iranian officials who were to be part of Tehran's delegation  http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4284679,00.html. Is it possible that Cotler's pressure and that of others has resulted in the US doing this at least?

The New York Post on Sunday sent  Ahmadinejad a basket brimming with distinctively Jewish delicacies-including  Manishevitz Gefilte fish, and Gold's Borscht - stating that it hoped to "take the edge off his bloodthirsty desire to develop nuclear weapons and wipe Israel off the map." http://www.jpost.com/Features/InThespotlight/Article.aspx?id=286029.

Here are Cotler's letters:

Friday, September 21, 2012.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

United States of America Department of State

Washington, DC

Dear Madame Secretary:

As you know, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will address the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City next Wednesday. While he is not the first war criminal to seek the world stage and will not be the last, the US has the power to refuse him a visa to set foot on American soil. This is a power that my fellow Parliamentarians and myself ask that you exercise in accordance with the US and international principles and precedents in this regard.

While you may feel obligated by virtue of the 1947 US-UN "Headquarters Agreement" to issue visas to all representatives of Member States, the US has drawn a line against allowing Member States or other entities to send as their representatives to the UN individuals who are personally responsible for universally recognized crimes for which no form of international immunity may be given.

In particular, the US refused to issue a visa for Yasser Arafat in 1988 on the ground that he had personally ordered the killing of a US diplomat, an internationally recognized crime, in addition to the crime of murder under US law. In 1987, the US refused to issue a visa to former Secretary General of the UN, Kurt Waldheim, on the ground that he had hidden his personal involvement in participating in the killing of Jews during World War II as a Nazi officer. These precedents surely mandate that President Ahmadinejad should be in the docket of the accused in some international tribunal rather than given a visa to attend the UN.

Indeed, President Ahmadinejad is a classic case study of an inadmissible war criminal who belongs on the US ‘Watchlist’. Simply put, those who "aid terrorists … persecute religious minorities … or commit or incite to genocide" are prohibited from entering the United States, and the evidence of President Ahmadinejad’s criminality on each of these counts is as clear as it is compelling.

In the matter of aiding terrorists, the US State Department, as you appreciate, has once again named Iran as the leading state sponsor of international terrorism. In particular, President Ahmadinejad’s Iran recruits, trains, finances, instigates and arms its terrorist proxies, such as Hamas and Hizbullah, whose platforms and policies are themselves replete with genocidal calls for the destruction of Israel. Indeed, Iran and Hezbollah have their footprints not only in the recent attack on Israelis in Bulgaria, but in terrorist attacks spanning five continents in 2012 alone .

Moreover, Iran is complicit in the international criminality of Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime. This criminal support includes sending military equipment, munitions, and surveillance technology – involving also Iranian al-Quds Special Forces – all to help sustain and intensify the brutality and atrocity of the Assad regime.

In the matter of religious persecution, one need only recall Iran’s massive domestic repression, particularly targeting religious minorities, especially the Baha’i – Iran’s largest such group – whose members are subject to harassment, repression, torture, imprisonment, and execution, let alone the widespread and systematic assaults on women, students, workers, dissidents, journalists, and academics – and those who would defend them. Moreover, Iran leads the world in per capita executions and the execution of minors – as well as in the imprisonment of journalists and bloggers.

In the matter of incitement to genocide, the evidence here is particularly compelling and disturbing, as President Ahmadinejad’s genocidal incitement is the terrifying and vilifying context for Iran’s illegal pursuit of nuclear weapons. Last month alone, as you know – and rightfully condemned – President Ahmadinejad called to "remove the Zionist black stain from the human society", adding that "the very existence of Israel is an insult to humankind and an affront to all world nations", and requiring the wiping out of this "scarlet letter from the … forehead of humanity".

Indeed, this state-sanctioned culture of hate and incitement to genocide has been persistent, pervasive, and pernicious. The 21st century began with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei calling for "the annihilation of the Jewish State." It was followed by the parading in the streets of Tehran of a Shihab-3 missile draped in the emblem "Wipe Israel off the map, as the Imam says." It has continued with the use of epidemiological metaphors referring to Jews as "filthy bacteria," and Israel as "a cancer that must be removed," reminiscent of the Nazis calling the Jews "vermin" and the Rwandan Hutus calling the Tutsis "cockroaches," the whole as prologue to and justification for a genocide foretold.

Instead of being granted a podium at the UN General Assembly, Ahmadinejad should be the object of a criminal indictment. Simply put, a person who has already committed the crime of "direct and public incitement to genocide" in violation of international law – punishable whether or not a genocide has occurred – who is complicit in crimes against humanity both at home and abroad – has no place at the UN, let alone at its most distinguished podium.

Indeed, while you may feel the Headquarters Agreement obliges the US not to impede access of representatives of Member States to the UN Headquarters in New York – and this agreement is said to trump American domestic law – the fact is that the Vienna Law of Treaties affirms that jus cogens – the preemptory norms of international law – such as incitement to genocide and crimes against humanity – override any treaty. Ahmadinejad’s crimes are such jus cogens crimes. The Headquarters Agreement should not avail and must not prevail

If the US nonetheless allows him entry, President Ahmadinejad’s travel should be restricted to only those parts of New York under UN authority, the Iranian Mission, and the airport. The US government is not obliged to treat him as an innocent tourist; rather, it should isolate and shun him as the war criminal he is.

Madame Secretary, I realize my fellow Parliamentarians and myself are asking you to take what may be characterized as an extraordinary step; however, President Ahmadinejad’s crimes warrant no less – and deserve much more – than this. He is undeserving of the UN podium, unfit to enter the US, and belongs in the docket of the accused. Surely, there must be no place in the US for those who engage in international crimes, support terrorism, violate human rights, and pose a standing threat to international peace and security, regional and Middle East stability, and the rights of their own citizens.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Professor Irwin Cotler, MP

Co-Chair, Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran

Chair, International Responsibility to Prevent Coalition

  

Friday, September 21, 2012.

Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon

New York, NY 10027

Dear Secretary-General:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s upcoming address to the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly – presently scheduled for Wednesday, September 26th – is a cruel parody of law and justice that will put us on the wrong side of history. Let there be no mistake about it: A person who pursues the most destructive of weaponry in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions, who incites to genocide, who is complicit in crimes against humanity, who is engaged in a massive repression of the human rights of his own citizens, who assaults the basic tenants of the United Nations Charter - such a person should be the object of an indictment by this international body, rather than the beneficiary of its respected podium.

As you are aware, the General Assembly represents an opportunity for world leaders to unite and engage in peaceful discourse and dialogue on the basis of a shared respect for international law and human rights. Indeed, pursuant to Article 1 of the United Nations Charter, the United Nations seeks to "Bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace."

Accordingly, offering this international podium to President Ahmadinejad is to make a mockery of international law, human rights and, indeed, the United Nations itself. Simply put, he is a man who should be in the docket of the accused rather than given an audience before this peace-seeking body.

President Ahmadinejad’s many crimes are well documented. Under his leadership, Iran continues its complicity in state-sponsored terrorism abroad while massively repressing its population at home; it also pursues nuclear weapons in defiance of the IAEA and the UN Security Council. As President of a state actively assisting the Syrian government in committing crimes against humanity and war crimes, President Ahmadinejad has effectively violated every basic tenet of the UN Charter.

Moreover, in the matter of Iran’s state-sanctioned incitement to genocide – in violation of international law and the Genocide Convention’s prohibition against "direct and public incitement to genocide" – the evidence here is particularly compelling and disturbing, as President Ahmadinejad’s genocidal incitement is the terrifying and vilifying context for Iran’s illegal pursuit of nuclear weapons. Last month alone, as you appreciate, President Ahmadinejad called to "remove the Zionist black stain from the human society", adding that "the very existence of Israel is an insult to humankind and an affront to all world nations", and requiring the wiping out of this "scarlet letter from the … forehead of humanity".

Indeed, this state-sanctioned culture of hate and incitement to genocide has been persistent, pervasive, and pernicious. The 21st century began with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei calling for "the annihilation of the Jewish State." It was followed by the parading in the streets of Tehran of a Shihab-3 missile draped in the emblem "Wipe Israel off the map, as the Imam says." It has continued with the use of epidemiological metaphors referring to Jews as "filthy bacteria," and Israel as "a cancer that must be removed," reminiscent of the Nazis calling the Jews "vermin" and the Rwandan Hutus calling the Tutsis "cockroaches," the whole as prologue to and justification for a genocide foretold.

Indeed, how can a UN forum host one who openly and avowedly seeks the destruction of a Member State? As you yourself said recently in Tehran, "I strongly reject threats by any member state to destroy another or outrageous attempts to deny historical facts, such as the Holocaust" – yet, President Ahmadinejad continues to call for the destruction of Israel while denying also the Holocaust.

Further, under President Ahmadinejad, Iran has intensified its oppression and persecution of religious minorities, especially the Baha’i – Iran’s largest such group – whose members are subject to harassment, repression, torture, imprisonment, and execution, let alone the widespread and systematic assaults on women, students, workers, dissidents, journalists – and those who would defend them.

In light of the foregoing, it is clear that President Ahmadinejad is not deserving – and this is an understatement – of the General Assembly podium. In this regard, I strongly urge you as Secretary-General to request that the United Nations Security Council take action to prevent the Iranian President from addressing the General Assembly. In particular, this can – and should – be done pursuant to your power under Article 99 to refer issues that "threaten the maintenance of international peace and security" to the Security Council. Simply put, there is no greater threat today to international peace and security, to regional and Middle East stability, and to the rights of his own people, than President Ahmadinejad’s Iran.

Given President Ahmadinejad’s hateful and incendiary incitement, flagrant disregard for principles of international law, massive repression of domestic human rights, and complicity with international terrorism, providing him with an opportunity – indeed privilege – to speak to the community of nations is simply as unacceptable as it is unworthy of the United Nations. My fellow Parliamentarians and myself would implore you to exercise your authority under Article 99 to prevent this affront to the United Nations, its Charter, and human decency.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter,

Professor Irwin Cotler, MP

Co-Chair, Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran

Chair, International Responsibility to Prevent Coalition

 
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