The international community should boycott Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad’s address at the UN General Assembly this week, Knesset Speaker
Reuven Rivlin told EU parliamentarians this weekend.
On Saturday, Iran’s
Fars news agency reported that the US had denied visas to 20 Iranian government
officials, out of the 160 visas requested by the Iranian delegation two months
ago, so they could attend this week’s UN General Assembly, Fars said. It gave no
reason for the rejection, but many Iranian officials are subject to travel bans
under sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program.
Fars named two of
those banned from going to New York as members of Ahmadinejad’s staff: Mohammad
Shaikhan, in charge of communications and information, and Mohammad Jafar
Behdad, in charge of political affairs. The US State Department had no immediate
comment on the matter.
But Ahmadinejad, a regular at the assembly since
he took office in 2005, is scheduled to give his final speech at the GA
Wednesday and will address a meeting on the “rule of law” on Monday.
Iranian president, whose second and final term in office ends next year, has
used previous UN speeches to defend a nuclear program he insists is peaceful and
to make verbal attacks on Israel, the US and Europe. He has also questioned the
historical truth of the Holocaust and cast doubt on whether Islamist hijackers
were really responsible for the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Western envoys walk out of the UN chamber during his speeches, in
Rivlin reiterated the call for a boycott when he spoke Friday to
the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) in Strasbourg, France.
Addressing dozens of parliament speakers, Rivlin referred to a military parade
in Tehran on Friday.
“The time has come to turn declarations into
actions,” the Knesset speaker said.
“Every day, the world is exposed to
Iranian lies and nuclear infrastructure, which it is presenting for all to
As Iran’s capabilities become more apparent, Europe must understand
that it is threatened, as well, and it must act, Rivlin stated.
he added, Europe continues to hesitate.
“The world must act to isolate
Iran, because time is running out,” Rivlin said.
Former Canadian justice
minister Irwin Cotler sent letters to both UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon and
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking them to bar Ahmadinejad from
entering the US and the UN.
Allowing Ahmadinejad to address the UN
General Assembly is a “cruel parody of law and justice that will put us on the
wrong side of history,” Cotler said. He noted that there are principles and
precedents in international law and US conduct that would exclude “war
criminals, such as President Ahmadinejad,” from entering the US, let alone
addressing the UN.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will
focus on the danger of a nuclear Iran when he addresses the UN General
On Saturday, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards
warned that Israel would eventually go beyond threats and would attack. As
speculation mounts that Israel could launch air strikes on Iran before US
elections in November, Muhammad Ali Jafari told a news conference that the
Jewish state would be destroyed if it took such a step.
only prove that their enmity with Islam and the revolution is serious, and
eventually this enmity will lead to physical conflict,” Jafari said when asked
about Israeli threats to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, the Iranian Student
News Agency reported.
“We are making all efforts to increase our
defensive capabilities so that if there is an attack... we could defend
ourselves and other countries that need our help with high defensive
Jafari’s comments, made at an Islamic Revolutionary Guard
Corps military exhibition, come as Israeli leaders have increased their rhetoric
“A war will occur, but it is not clear where or when it
will be,” Jafari was quoted as saying on Saturday. “Israel seeks war with us,
but it is not clear when the war will occur.”
“Right now they see war as
the only method of confrontation,” he said.
Israel, which bombed an Iraqi
nuclear reactor in 1981 and launched a similar strike against Syria in 2007, has
threatened to do the same in Iran if diplomatic efforts fail to stop the nuclear
work it believes is aimed at getting weapons capability.
Iran, which says
its nuclear work is for peaceful means, has said it could strike US military
bases in the region as well as Israel if attacked.
“If [Israel] starts
something, they will be destroyed and it will be the end of the story for them,”
Jafari said, according to ISNA.
Reuters contributed to this report.