Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor stormed out of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s address of a high level rule of law meeting at the UN General Assembly Monday in protest at the inclusion of a representative from a regime where “there is no law and no justice”.
The Iranian leader is set to address the full assembly Wednesday evening, where no Israeli delegates will be present as it coincides with the Jewish fast of Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement).
Describing the decision to give Iran a platform on such a significant topic as “a shame and a disgrace” amid the regime’s continued diplomatic stand-off with the west over its disputed nuclear weapons programme, Prosor, whose exit was accompanied by Israel’s legal team, added: “Allowing Ahmadinejad to give a UN speech on an issue like the rule of law is like appointing a pyromaniac as a fire commissioner”.
Earlier Monday, Ahmadinejad dismissed the threat of a pre-emptive strike by Israel, in speaking to US reporters, telling them that “we, generally speaking, do not take very seriously the issue of the Zionists and possible dangers emanating from them”.
Dismissing calls from the Jewish State as “a lot of noise to raise stakes in order to save themselves”, he warned that “Iran is also a very well-recognised country and her defensive powers are very clear”.
His words came in immediate defiance of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who had used a meeting with the Islamist leader Sunday to draw attention to the potentially harmful consequences of inflammatory rhetoric on the Jewish State.
White House spokesman Jay Carney dismissed Ahmadinejad’s calls for Israel’s “elimination”, insisting he “says foolish, offensive and sometimes unintelligible things on a regular basis”. He added that US President Barack Obama’s planned address of the General Assembly Tuesday night would likely “underscore that Iran must not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon”.
Advance excerpts of his speech released Tuesday amended US rhetoric on diplomacy to Iran to say although the administration still believes there is time for negotiations, “time is not unlimited”.
“A nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained," he is expected to say. "It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations and the stability of the global economy.”
"The United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."
Obama’s comments are likely intended to dispel Ahmahdinejad’s indication Monday that he supports widespread theories that the US is unwilling to support an Israeli strike on Iran prior to the presidential elections on November 6. Obama, who is seeking an unprecedented second term in office, said that “experience has shown that important and key decisions are not made in the US leading up to national elections”.
Israel has repeatedly called on the US and wider international community to draw “clear red lines” on its timeline for diplomacy for Iran, as it cautions that Iran has not so far taken its calls for nuclear disarmament seriously. Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu is due to address the General Assembly meeting on Thursday, where Iran’s disputed nuclear activity is expected to form a major part of his speech.