Tomorrow, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly should order his men to escort the new hard-line president of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Kennedy International Airport, the minute he finishes speaking to the U.N. General Assembly at 3:10 p.m.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who took office in August after disputed elections, is not just any head of state. He has a terrorist pedigree that should make him an unwelcome guest in any civilized country, if having a terrorist “watch list” serves any purpose. But perhaps “civilized” is not an adjective that applies to the United Nations, which has standards all its own.
The State Department found Aug. 31 that the Iranian president was “excludable” by law from entering the United States, since he met the definition of an “international terrorist.” Nevertheless, the wise heads at Foggy Bottom decided to waive the law.
The U.S. was bound by the Host Treaty agreement to allow anyone — absolutely anyone — to address the U.N. if they represented a sovereign state, the State Department lawyers argued. Besides, Mr. Ahmadinejad would not be allowed to travel more than 25 miles outside New York.
But that restriction has not dampened Mr. Ahmadinejad’s plans to gather Iranian-Americans for a series of private meetings in Manhattan, where he plans to encourage them to lobby the U.S. government against the policies of the Bush administration, according to individuals who have been contacted by the Islamic Republic’s U.N. delegation to attend the meetings.
Specifically, Mr. Ahmadinejad wants their support in discouraging the United States from referring Iran’s violations of its commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency to the U.N. Security Council for sanctions. He also wants pro-regime Iranians in the United States to lobby Congress and the White House to lift the U.S. trade embargo on Iran.
If Mr. Kelly and the New York Police Department feel they cannot prevent Mr. Ahmadinejad from addressing the U.N. General Assembly, they should escort him directly to Kennedy airport after his 5-minute speech so he can’t turn the visit into a lobbying tour. There is nothing in the U.S. treaty with the U.N. that says we have to sponsor international terrorists who have come to the United States on a lobbying mission.
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