Peres at UN: Ahmadinejad is a “disgrace to Islam” (& still no word on missing American in Iran)

September 26, 2008

* Livni: Ahmadinejad speech makes mockery of UN vow of “never again”
* Netanyahu: “The year is 1938 and Europe is sleeping, not for the first time”
* The Guardian: Bush “turned down Israeli request to bomb Iran”
* Israeli Military intelligence: Iran now halfway to first nuclear bomb




1. Ahmadinejad again denies Holocaust, blames Jews for world financial crisis
2. Peres at UN: Ahmadinejad is a “disgrace to Islam”
3. McCain, Obama speak out; other politicians silent
4. Livni: Ahmadinejad’s speech makes mockery of UN vow of “never again”
5. Netanyahu: “The year is 1938 and Europe is sleeping, not for the first time”
6. Iran’s president takes message to gullible U.S. media
7. “Israel causing Palestinian Holocaust”
8. Jewish organizations cave in to bullying from Obama camp
9. American press wakes up to the nuclear threat


10. The Guardian: Bush “turned down Israeli request to bomb Iran”
11. Israeli military intelligence: Iran halfway to first nuclear bomb
12. Former IDF head: Military strike against Iran may be inevitable
13. Russia, China thwart Iran sanctions
14. Still no word on missing American in Iran
15. Iranian general killed in clashes with rebels
16. Media group criticizes jailing by Iran of ethnic minority journalists
17. “Nuclear Pyongyang is helping Iran”
18. Half of Middle East Internet users live in Iran
19. Ahmadinejad gets a warm reception (NY Sun, Sept. 25, 2008)
20. Sarah Palin on Ahmadinejad: “He must be stopped”

[All notes below by Tom Gross]

This dispatch concerns Iran and is a follow-up to Iran prepares Salman Rushdie’s coffin, as Hillary Clinton cancels appearance at NY rally against Ahmadinejad.



Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered an anti-Semitic tirade before world leaders gathered at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week – and received applause from many.

“The American and European nations are being manipulated by a small but cunning group of people called Zionists who control the important centers of the economy,” he said, in a speech to which many other heads of state, diplomats and dignitaries applauded.

His also warned of “Zionist murderers” and said that not just Israel, but also America would disappear as was Allah’s will. Iran is now seeking a seat on the UN Security Council.



Following Ahmadinejad’s anti-Semitic tirade, Israeli President Shimon Peres (filling in for outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert) said Iran presents “a danger to the entire world” and Ahmadinejad was a “disgrace to Islam.”

In a press conference, Peres also criticized the UN for allowing itself to be used as “a platform for anti-Semitism.” He said: “This is the first time in the history of the United Nations that the head of a state is appearing openly and publicly with the ugly and dark accusations of the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’.”

Peres was referring to the anti-Semitic hoax concocted in tsarist Russia which later paved the way for the Holocaust.

Addressing the General Assembly, Peres, 85, refrained from criticizing the UN itself, but at the end of his address, he paused and took a simple black skullcap out of his pocket and placed it on his head, making clear that he was standing not just as a president of Israel but also as a Jew.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev said the move had been unrehearsed and had come as a surprise to her as she sat watching from Israel’s seat.

“Tehran combines long-range missiles and short-range minds. The situation is pregnant with tragedies,” Peres said in his address, which was made a day after Russia effectively torpedoed chances of the UN reaching agreement on a new round of sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program.



American Jewish leaders expressed disappointment that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon refrained from repudiating Ahmadinejad’s statements.

“The repugnant ideas and prejudiced sentiment asserted by President Ahmadinejad must not go unanswered,” the Anti-Defamation League said in a letter to Ban. “We ask you to speak out against his vile words and denounce his outrageous claims and abuse of the UN platform.”

Senior American politicians, including John McCain and Barack Obama, swiftly denounced Ahmadinejad’s tirade against Jews and denial of the Holocaust. Politicians from other countries were largely silent.

The Iranian website Asr-e Iran claimed that Obama’s condemnation of the Iranian president was being directed by a small Zionist group who control the media and only proves the truth of the Iranian president’s warnings. (In Persian here.)



Israeli Foreign Minister (and Prime Minister designate) Tzipi Livni blasted the United Nations for granting Iran’s president a platform to deliver an anti-Semitic address that contradicted its vow to prevent another Holocaust.

“Ahmadinejad’s speech at the UN demonstrates the absurd state of affairs of the organization whose founding motto was ‘Never Again.’ But, that is not even the worst of it. Iran is now asking to be included as a member of the UN Security Council. This is like allowing a criminal to be his own judge and jury,” she said.



Israel’s Likud party opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu said the Iranian leader’s statements heighten the urge for Western action against Tehran’s nuclear activities. “The president of Iran unites all of Israel given the threat. There is no difference between myself and [Kadima party leader] Tzipi Livni and [Labor party leader] Ehud Barak on this matter. The West still does not spot the danger and even if it does spot it, it is still not acting. Israel needs to do what is needed so that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon,” he said

“The year is 1938 and Iran is analogous to Germany. Europe is sleeping, it’s napping, unfortunately not for the first time but Israel must not absorb the negative consequences of that.”



Meanwhile, during his stay in New York this week, Ahmadinejad was allowed to further his aims by being invited to give interviews to the “useful idiots” of the American media, including National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition”, and CNN’s Larry King show.

He toned down his remarks for Larry King in a masterful propaganda effort to make him seem respectable.

But in various interviews to other American media, Ahmadinejad continued to express his view that Israel has no future, describing the Jewish state as “an airplane that has lost its engine.”


In Israel, the media took rather a different line. The headline of Israel Hayom was “Ahmadinejad At UN: The Most Anti-Semitic Speech”; and Ma’ariv’s headline was “The Ahmadinejad Horror Show.”


Please also read the article below from The New York Sun titled “Ahmadinejad gets a warm reception” about how 400 American students and professors flew to New York’s Hyatt hotel from all over America – in many cases their transport paid for by their colleges – to listen to and lap up Ahmadinejad’s ugly propaganda. Professors from Harvard, Columbia and MIT attended.



In a separate speech given to reporters at a press conference prior to his UN address, Ahmadinejad said Israel was “perpetrating a holocaust on the Palestinian people.”

He also again said that the Holocaust by Nazi Germany was a “fake” and “an invention.”

He added that the Jewish state wouldn’t survive “in any form.”

He also downplayed the possibility of an Israeli strike against Iran. “The Zionists are in a weak position to launch attacks against any other country,” he was quoted by Iran’s Press TV as saying.

Meanwhile, Iranian Vice President Mashayee said in Iran this week that “Israel is a dead corpse whose burial has been delayed.” (In Persian here.)

And in an open letter to Supreme Leader Khamenei immediately after the Supreme Leader’s Friday prayer sermon in Tehran, Vice President Mashayee wrote: “I am convinced about the annihilation of world Zionism and find it within our reach.”



This item of mine was published early last Friday on the website of the National Review. Might this be a foretaste to the way an Obama-Biden administration might pressure Israel if elected?

Jewish organizations cave in to bullying from Obama camp
By Tom Gross
National Review Online
September 19, 2008, 04:29 AM

Yesterday I noted that Senator Hillary Clinton canceled an appearance at a major New York rally next week because Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin was also due to speak. The rally will be held outside UN headquarters on Monday to protest against Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The UN General Assembly opens that day, and the Iranian dictator (repressor of women, children, Christians, homosexuals, Kurds and Bahá’ís, as well as being the biggest anti-Semite on the international stage since Hitler) is scheduled to address the body the following day.

But following what is described as heavy muscle pressure from the Obama-Biden camp, the Jewish groups who are organizing the rally (which is also expected to be attended by Iranian dissidents and other human rights activists) have now disinvited Palin. (Obama and Biden say they won’t accept invitations to attend either.)

So thanks to pressure from Obama and his foolish foreign policy advisors, as well from the far-left George Soros-financed group “J Street,” neither major Democrat nor Republican heavyweights will now attend the rally.

Do Obama and Biden actually want Iran to get a nuclear weapon?



Monday’s rally was attended by several thousand people, but obviously had Sarah Palin been allowed to attend or had Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden chosen to come, the crowd demonstrating against Ahmadinejad, would have been much bigger, and the international media attention much greater.

Many liberal American Jews are apparently more concerned about hounding Sarah Palin than stopping Iran getting a nuclear arsenal which it may well use to wipe out Israel. Prominent American Jews in the media and Hollywood were also notoriously silent during the (first?) Holocaust, with only a very few exceptions.

Among those attending Monday’s and yesterday’s rallies in New York were elderly survivors of Nazi death camps in Europe, who said they were the living rejoinders to Ahmadinejad’s lies about the Holocaust.

One Holocaust survivor in attendance, named Elaine told an Iranian opposition radio station: “Ahmadinejad said that the Holocaust never happened – that it is invented. So where are my parents? Where is my whole family? I had five sisters and two brothers... Six million Jews were killed and a million and half of them children. So he comes and he says that we invented the Holocaust.”

(Please see the last item on this dispatch for the remarks Sarah Palin would have given at the rally had she been allowed to speak.)



The Catholic League sent a mass email to its membership, saying in part: “Catholics need to stand with their Jewish brothers and sisters in protesting... Ahmadinejad is a menace to freedom-loving people the world over, and the sight of religious groups embracing him is nauseating. The Catholic League is proud to take part in this rally and we encourage people of all religious groups to have a contingent represent them on Thursday evening.”

Among the religious groups honoring Ahmadinejad at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City were the Americans Friends Service Committee, the Mennonite Central Committee, the Quaker United Nations Office, Religions for Peace, and the World Council of Churches.



A prominent evangelical organization, angered by the decision of other Christian organizations to meet and honor Ahmadinejad in New York (see last week’s dispatch for details) has said it would deliver a petition to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon signed by 55,000 Christians from 128 countries demanding that Ahmadinejad be indicted for incitement to genocide against Israel.

Malcolm Hedding, the organization’s executive director (and who is also a subscriber to this email list), said: “The silence of most Christian clergy in the face of Germany’s horrific bid to annihilate European Jewry left a deep stain on the churches. Yet from it has arisen a sense among multitudes of Christians today that we have an inescapable moral duty to earnestly speak out whenever another genocidal campaign threatens the Jewish people.”



In America, the press this week ran a series of editorials warning of the dangers of a nuclear Iran.

In a lead editorial in The Washington Post on Tuesday titled “Iran Slips Away,” the paper said “Even as its nuclear program accelerates, the impetus to stop it loses steam.”

“As Iran races toward accumulating enough uranium for a bomb, the sense of urgency about the threat it poses is lower here and in Europe than it was six months or a year ago... There seems to be little prospect that the Security Council will agree anytime soon on a fourth round of UN sanctions.”

In The Wall Street Journal, Democrats and Republicans came together to co-author a piece titled “Everyone needs to worry about Iran.”

The four authors were Richard Holbrooke (a former U.S. ambassador to the UN), R. James Woolsey (a former director of the CIA), Dennis Ross (the Middle East envoy for President Clinton) and Mark Wallace (a representative of the U.S. to the UN for management and reform). Woolsey and Ross are both subscribers to this email list.

And in an editorial in The New York Times titled “Remember Iran?” The New York Times remembered Iran but drew precisely the wrong conclusions, essentially calling for the appeasement of Iran’s regime by America.

After Hitler, the policy of appeasing dictators – famously referred to by Winston Churchill as “feeding a crocodile, hoping it will eat one last” – appeared to be permanently discredited. But apparently not by The New York Times.



According to an “exclusive” published today in London in The Guardian (and reprinted courtesy of Reuters and other news agencies elsewhere) “Israel’s then prime minister Ehud Olmert reportedly spoke to President George W. Bush about the possibility of a strike on Iran during the American leader’s visit to the Jewish state in May.”

The revelations were sourced to European diplomats.

The author of The Guardian’s article, Jonathan Steele, is a notorious polemicist against America and the West.

Mark Regev, Olmert’s spokesman, reacted to The Guardian’s story saying: “The need to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is raised at every meeting between the prime minister and foreign leaders. Israel prefers a diplomatic solution to this issue but all options must remain on the table. Your unnamed European source attributed words to the prime minister that were not spoken in any working meeting with foreign guests.”

Tom Gross adds: During Saddam Hussein’s rule in 1981, Israeli aircraft successfully destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak shortly before it was due to start operating. At the time the entire world, including President Reagan, attacked Israel, and newspapers like The New York Times were scathing in their criticism of the government of Menachem Begin. Since then, many politicians and journalists in the West and Arab world have acknowledged that Begin’s action was necessary and correct.



Iran is halfway to a nuclear bomb, and Hizbullah, Hamas and Syria are using this period of relative calm to significantly rearm, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, the Military Intelligence’s head of research, told the Israeli cabinet on Sunday during a particularly gloomy briefing on the threats facing Israel.

Baidatz warned there was a growing gap between Iran’s progress on the nuclear front and the West’s determination to stop it. “Iran is concentrating on uranium enrichment, and is making progress,” he said, noting that they have improved the function of their 4,000 uranium centrifuges.

According to Baidatz, the Iranian centrifuges have so far produced between one-third to one-half of the enriched material needed to build a nuclear bomb.

“The Iranians are pleased that the gap is widening,” Baidatz said. “Their confidence is growing with the thought that the international community is not strong enough to stop them,” he added.

Baidatz said the Iranians were playing for time, and that time was working in their favor since the longer the process dragged on, the wider the rifts appearing among the countries in the West become. “Iran is in control of the technology and is moving with determination toward a nuclear bomb,” he said.



General Moshe Ya’alon, the former head of the Israeli army, has said that Iran threatens the West in the same way Hitler once did and that if economic and political sanctions failed, a military conflict will be inevitable. “Today, we in the West are facing the same situation, the same lack of decisiveness towards a threat that is no less severe than that which Hitler posed in 1939,” Ya’alon said. “We can still stop Iran using political and economic measures but if we do not, then a military confrontation is inevitable.” Ya’alon served as chief of staff of the IDF from 2002 to 2005.



Russia and China (both of whom are permanent members of the UN Security Council) are blocking U.S. and European efforts to slap new sanctions on Iran over its disputed nuclear program, reports the Associated Press.

Writing in the Israeli paper Ha’aretz yesterday, Yossi Melman said:

“The UN’s sanctions on Iran have collapsed. That is the only conclusion one can draw from Russia’s announcement earlier this week that it is no longer willing to support the Security Council’s permanent members’ proposal for a new set of sanctions, the fourth of its kind, against Iran.

“Though no funeral has been held or death certificate issued, Moscow has rendered clinically dead the joint international efforts to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

“The sanctions imposed two years ago were not strong, as they were the result of a compromise between the U.S., EU, Russia and China. But they expressed a moral stand by the international community that it would not come to terms with a nuclear Iran.

“Russia, which will complete constructing a nuclear power plant in the Iranian city of Bushehr this year, was never enthused by the idea of sanctions. It did everything it could to stall and weaken them. Eventually, it always agreed on watered-down versions while exploiting U.S. weaknesses such as its involvement in Iraq, the presidential elections and its severe economic crisis. Thus, Russia is strengthening the Iranian regime and signaling to it that the basic, though superficial, international consensus against it has ceased to exist.

“... Now, thanks to support from Moscow, the Iranian president and his patron, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, can feel more relaxed and claim that the international sanctions will soon be lifted, deflecting criticism against them... Iran is only months away from crossing the technological threshold of building an atomic bomb.”


Here are some photos of this week’s military parade in Iran:

“Iran’s latest domestically-manufactured military arms, naval weapons and air force equipment, including the Shahab-3 missile with the ability to hit targets within a range of 2,000 km, as well as the 300 km range Shahab-1, the 500 km range Shahab-2, and the upgraded 2,000 km range Gadr-1 ballistic missiles were also displayed,” Iran’s Press TV said.

Meanwhile, Russia is negotiating the delivery of more air defense systems to Iran, said the General Director of Russian arms exporter, Rosoboronexport.



Christine Levinson, the wife of former FBI agent Robert Levinson who disappeared in Iran l8 months ago, says Iranian officials are refusing to give her any information about her husband. “I know nothing about his welfare, or his whereabouts. He is 60 years old and has diabetes and high blood pressure, so that makes me extremely concerned.”

The Iranian delegation visiting New York for the UN General Assembly refused to meet with Mrs. Levinson.

* More in Persian here
* Background in English here.



Iran’s government-controlled Fars News Agency reports that four members of the Iranian security forces, including a general, have been killed in clashes with rebels in Sistan-Baluchestan province, in southeastern Iran.

“The general was killed during mopping up operations in the Nosratabad area northwest of the provincial capital Zahedan... Several rebels were also killed,” reports Fars.

Sistan-Baluchestan has seen a surge in attacks by the Jundullah (Soldiers of God) group in recent years. Over three thousand Iranian police and security forces have been killed in clashes with militia in southeastern Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.



This website has long urged international human rights organizations to speak up for persecuted Iranians.

On September 24, 2008, the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders finally called on Iran to stop what it called Tehran’s “all-out repression” of ethnic-minority journalists.

The Paris-based group criticized the holding without charge of four ethnic-Azeri journalists – Alireza Sarafi, Said Mohamadi, Hassain Rashedi, and Akabar Azad – and the sentencing of another, Shahnaz Gholami, on September 20 to six months in prison for her online articles.

Reporters Without Borders said it was “disturbing” that 11 out of 12 journalists detained in Iran last week were from the Kurdish, Azeri, or Arab minorities.

It said the journalists were being held in prison for criticizing social inequality and demanding equal treatment for non-Persian minorities.



The leading French daily, Le Figaro, reported on September 23, 2008 that “North Korean experts are involved in developing nuclear missiles for the Iranian regime on a site that was previously not identified, according to the exiled opposition group, the National Council of Resistance Iran (NCRI).”

According to NCRI, these experts have been working “for at least two years” on a secret military site in the Hemmat Khojar region, south-east of Tehran, where they are involved in the adaptation of ballistic missile medium-range Shahab-3 with nuclear warheads.

The NCRI said their information is based on sources “within the regime.”



Iran has the second highest percentage of its population online in the Middle East. Over 23 million Iranians use the Internet, representing 34.9 % of the population. Only Israel has a higher proportion of users; just over half the Israeli population has Internet access.

According to the Internet World Stats, Iranians comprise nearly 54% of total Internet users in the Middle East. There are thousands of anti-government blogs illegally operating in Iran

Selected statistics from “Internet World Stats”.

Iran: 23,000,000 users as of March 08, 34.9% penetration.
Israel: 3,700,000 users as of July 06, 52.0% penetration.
Palestine (West Bank and Gaza): 355,500 users as of March 08, 13.6 % penetration.
Syria: 2,132,000 users as of March 08, 10.8% penetration.



Ahmadinejad gets a warm reception
New York Sun
September 25, 2008

Booed by Columbia University students a year ago, President Ahmadinejad of Iran early yesterday received a much warmer reception from 400 American students and professors at the Hyatt hotel in Midtown Manhattan. “Especially at a time when our leaders and policymakers aren’t meeting with this man, it was refreshing to hear from him,” a senior at North Central College of Naperville, James Nebl, said. Mr. Nebl flew from Chicago with seven other students from the college to hear the Iranian leader. The college paid for the trip.

Other students who got face time with the Holocaust-denying president came from the State University of New York at Old Westbury and Chestnut Hill Academy, a boys’ school in Philadelphia.

The president of SUNY Old Westbury is the Reverend Calvin O. Butts III, who is also the pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, one of Harlem’s largest churches. “It was incredible,” a North Central College senior, Ann Fisher, said. “I honestly believe that the National Intelligence Estimate is correct and that since 2003, the nuclear program has been peaceful.”


“I love you all,” Mr. Ahmadinejad told the roomful of students, the Boston Globe reported. “I feel I am with very old friends.”

Last September, when he spoke at Columbia, thousands of students and New Yorkers protested his invitation. The school’s president, Lee Bollinger, drew criticism for inviting the Iranian leader and then harshly introducing him at a speech to faculty and students, belittling the leader by calling him a “petty, cruel dictator.”

Several students asked the Iranian president about his most controversial positions: that Israel ought to be destroyed and that the Holocaust may not have occurred. About the murder of 6 million Jews, Mr. Ahmadinejad said he was unable to “negate it or prove it,” the Associated Press reported. Ms. Fisher said that Mr. Ahmadinejad skirted questions about which candidate he supports in the American presidential election.


North Central College, a liberal arts college, paid for all eight students to travel to meet the Iranian president. A political science professor who helped arrange the trip, Steven Caliendo, said that North Central students represented Iran at a Model United Nations Conference last year in New York, where they met the Iranian ambassador. The ambassador was impressed with the students and contacted the college’s Model UN coach to invite them to meet Mr. Ahmadinejad, he said. “They were beside themselves,” Mr. Caliendo said about his students, adding that they “were not supportive of Ahmadinejad’s regime in any way, shape, or form.”

Mr. Caliendo called the meeting an “amazing educational opportunity,” and said that he would have felt the same way if the meeting were with Saddam Hussein or Adolf Hitler.

Following his speech at the General Assembly Tuesday, Mr. Ahmadinejad hosted a dinner with 40 Americans, including professors and representatives of several nonprofit groups.


Harvard professors Graham Allison and Hassan Abbas, Columbia professor Gary Sick, and MIT professor James Walsh were among those attending the dinner, which was also held at the Hyatt.

The guests sat around a table for three hours and discussed American-Iranian relations, Iran’s nuclear program, Iran’s human rights record, and the Holocaust. According to Mr. Walsh, who has attended three such dinners with the Iranian president, Mr. Ahmadinejad came off as “more of a statesman” than in previous visits. He was “more practiced, more self-assured,” and made jokes. “Ahmadinejad is a bit of a debater, so he prefers people to offer their opinions,” Mr. Walsh said.

No alcohol was served.



In the interest of overcoming censorship I attach the remarks that Sarah Palin would have given at the New York rally against Ahmadinejad had she been allowed to speak.

Her assistant in preparing these remarks is a subscriber to this email list.



I am honored to be with you and with leaders from across this great country – leaders from different faiths and political parties united in a single voice of outrage.

Tomorrow, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will come to New York – to the heart of what he calls the Great Satan – and speak freely in this, a country whose demise he has called for.

Ahmadinejad may choose his words carefully, but underneath all of the rhetoric is an agenda that threatens all who seek a safer and freer world. We gather here today to highlight the Iranian dictator’s intentions and to call for action to thwart him.

He must be stopped.

The world must awake to the threat this man poses to all of us. Ahmadinejad denies that the Holocaust ever took place. He dreams of being an agent in a “Final Solution” – the elimination of the Jewish people. He has called Israel a “stinking corpse” that is “on its way to annihilation.”

Such talk cannot be dismissed as the ravings of a madman – not when Iran just this summer tested long-range Shahab-3 missiles capable of striking Tel Aviv, not when the Iranian nuclear program is nearing completion, and not when Iran sponsors terrorists that threaten and kill innocent people around the world.

The Iranian government wants nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that Iran is running at least 3,800 centrifuges and that its uranium enrichment capacity is rapidly improving. According to news reports, U.S. intelligence agencies believe the Iranians may have enough nuclear material to produce a bomb within a year.

The world has condemned these activities. The United Nations Security Council has demanded that Iran suspend its illegal nuclear enrichment activities. It has levied three rounds of sanctions. How has Ahmadinejad responded? With the declaration that the “Iranian nation would not retreat one iota” from its nuclear program.

So, what should we do about this growing threat? First, we must succeed in Iraq. If we fail there, it will jeopardize the democracy the Iraqis have worked so hard to build, and empower the extremists in neighboring Iran. Iran has armed and trained terrorists who have killed our soldiers in Iraq, and it is Iran that would benefit from an American defeat in Iraq.


If we retreat without leaving a stable Iraq, Iran’s nuclear ambitions will be bolstered. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons – they could share them tomorrow with the terrorists they finance, arm, and train today. Iranian nuclear weapons would set off a dangerous regional nuclear arms race that would make all of us less safe.

But Iran is not only a regional threat; it threatens the entire world. It is the no. 1 state sponsor of terrorism.

It sponsors the world’s most vicious terrorist groups, Hamas and Hizbullah. Together, Iran and its terrorists are responsible for the deaths of Americans in Lebanon in the 1980s, in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, and in Iraq today. They have murdered Iraqis, Lebanese, Palestinians, and other Muslims who have resisted Iran’s desire to dominate the region. They have persecuted countless people simply because they are Jewish.

Iran is responsible for attacks not only on Israelis, but on Jews living as far away as Argentina. Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial are part of Iran’s official ideology and murder is part of its official policy. Not even Iranian citizens are safe from their government’s threat to those who want to live, work, and worship in peace. Politically-motivated abductions, torture, death by stoning, flogging, and amputations are just some of its state-sanctioned punishments.

It is said that the measure of a country is the treatment of its most vulnerable citizens. By that standard, the Iranian government is both oppressive and barbaric. Under Ahmadinejad’s rule, Iranian women are some of the most vulnerable citizens.

If an Iranian woman shows too much hair in public, she risks being beaten or killed.

If she walks down a public street in clothing that violates the state dress code, she could be arrested.

But in the face of this harsh regime, the Iranian women have shown courage. Despite threats to their lives and their families, Iranian women have sought better treatment through the “One Million Signatures Campaign Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws.” The authorities have reacted with predictable barbarism. Last year, women’s rights activist Delaram Ali was sentenced to 20 lashes and 10 months in prison for committing the crime of “propaganda against the system.” After international protests, the judiciary reduced her sentence to “only” 10 lashes and 36 months in prison and then temporarily suspended her sentence. She still faces the threat of imprisonment.


Earlier this year, Senator Clinton said that “Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is in the forefront of that” effort. Senator Clinton argued that part of our response must include stronger sanctions, including the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization. John McCain and I could not agree more.

Senator Clinton understands the nature of this threat and what we must do to confront it. This is an issue that should unite all Americans. Iran should not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Period. And in a single voice, we must be loud enough for the whole world to hear: Stop Iran!

Only by working together, across national, religious, and political differences, can we alter this regime’s dangerous behavior. Iran has many vulnerabilities, including a regime weakened by sanctions and a population eager to embrace opportunities with the West. We must increase economic pressure to change Iran’s behavior.

Tomorrow, Ahmadinejad will come to New York. On our soil, he will exercise the right of freedom of speech – a right he denies his own people. He will share his hateful agenda with the world. Our task is to focus the world on what can be done to stop him.

We must rally the world to press for truly tough sanctions at the UN or with our allies if Iran’s allies continue to block action in the UN We must start with restrictions on Iran’s refined petroleum imports.

We must reduce our dependency on foreign oil to weaken Iran’s economic influence.

We must target the regime’s assets abroad; bank accounts, investments, and trading partners.

President Ahmadinejad should be held accountable for inciting genocide, a crime under international law.

We must sanction Iran’s Central Bank and the Revolutionary Guard Corps – which no one should doubt is a terrorist organization.

Together, we can stop Iran’s nuclear program.

Senator McCain has made a solemn commitment that I strongly endorse: Never again will we risk another Holocaust. And this is not a wish, a request, or a plea to Israel’s enemies. This is a promise that the United States and Israel will honor, against any enemy who cares to test us. It is John McCain’s promise and it is my promise.

Thank you.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.