by Stephen Lendman
On September 25, Iranian President Hassan Rohani delivered his first General Assembly address.
It was eloquent, straightforward, honest and important. He spoke truth to power. He did so sincerely and candidly.
Israel's UN delegation walked out. It did so disgracefully. Netanyahu speaks next Tuesday. From Israel he lied, saying:
"As expected, this was a cynical speech that was full of hypocrisy."
"Rohani spoke of human rights even as Iranian forces are participating in the large-scale slaughter of innocent civilians in Syria."
"He spoke of a nuclear program for civilian purposes even as an IAEA report determines that the program has military dimensions."
His presidency represents "no change in Iranian policy. This is exactly Iran's strategy - to talk and play for time in order to advance its ability to achieve nuclear weapons."
Iran supports Syrian sovereignty. It does so responsibly. Israel opposes it. So does America. Both countries are waging lawless aggression.
They're using proxy death squads. They want another imperial trophy. They bear full responsibility for mass slaughter, destruction, brutal atrocities, and use of chemical weapons against nonviolent pro-Assad civilians.
Tehran threatens no one. Its nuclear program is peaceful. It fully complies with Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) provisions.
Israel is nuclear armed and dangerous. It maintains formidable chemical and biological weapons arsenals.
Israel's a nuclear outlaw. It threatens humanity. Netanyahu exceeds the worst of his predecessors. He represents rogue governance writ large.
He's guilty of crimes of war, against humanity and genocide. He belongs in prison, not high office. Israelis have themselves to blame for electing him.
Humanity pays the price. He should be barred from General Assembly participation. Israel should be expelled from the world body.
It's guilty of decades of unconscionable crimes of war, against humanity and genocide. So is America.
Both countries should be kicked out of an organization dedicated "to sav(ing) succeeding generations from the scourge of war."
They violate UN Charter provisions repeatedly. They threaten humanity in the process. Rohani represents polar opposite policies.
Previous articles discussed him. He supports peace. He deplores war. He combines diplomacy, political acumen, intellect and distinguished scholarship. He's called the "Diplomat Sheikh" for good reason.
He urges peace and reconciliation. He promised "government of hope and prudence". He pledged "constructive interaction with the world." He said what he means and means what he says.
He began his address, saying:
"Our world today is replete with fear and hope; fear of war and hostile regional and global relations; fear of deadly confrontation of religious, ethnic and national identities; fear of institutionalization of violence and extremism; fear of poverty and destructive discrimination; fear of decay and destruction of life-sustaining resources; fear of disregard for human dignity and rights; and fear of neglect of morality."
"Alongside these fears, however, there are new hopes; the hope of universal acceptance by the people and the elite all across the globe of 'yes to peace and no to war;' and the hope of preference of dialogue over conflict, and moderation over extremism."
"The recent elections in Iran represent a clear, living example of the wise choice of hope, rationality and moderation by the great people of Iran."
"The realization of democracy consistent with religion and the peaceful transfer of executive power manifested that Iran is the anchor of stability in an otherwise ocean of regional instabilities."
"The firm belief of our people and government in enduring peace, stability, tranquility, peaceful resolution of disputes and reliance on the ballot box as the basis of power, public acceptance and legitimacy, has indeed played a key role in creating such a safe environment."
He called "the age of zero sum games...over."
"Militarism and the recourse to violent and military means to subjugate others are failed examples of the perpetuation of old ways in new circumstances."
"Coercive economic and military policies and practices geared to the maintenance and preservation of old superiorities and dominations have been pursued in a conceptual mindset that negates peace, security, human dignity, and exalted human ideals."
"Ignoring differences between societies and globalizing Western values as universal ones represent another manifestation of this conceptual mindset."
He denounced what he called the "Cold War mentality and bi-polar division of the world into 'superior us' and 'inferior others.' "
"The discourse assigning the North the center stage and relegating the South to the periphery has led to the establishment of a monologue at the level of international relations."
"The creation of illusory identity distinctions and the current prevalent violent forms of xenophobia are the inevitable outcome of such a discourse."
"Propagandistic and unfounded faith phobic, Islamo-phobic, Shia-phobic, and Iran-phobic discourses do indeed represent serious threats against world peace and human security."
Fabricated threats are created, he said. They're pretexts to commit horrendous crimes. They've been ongoing for decades. Iran has been grievously victimized.
"(B)ased on irrefutable evidence," said Rohani, "those (who claim an Iranian threat either) threat(en) international peace and security themselves or promote such a threat."
"Iran poses absolutely no threat to the world or the region."
"In fact, in ideals as well as in actual practice, my country has been a harbinger of just peace and comprehensive security."
"Nowhere in the world has violence been so deadly and destructive as in North Africa and West Asia."
"Military intervention in Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein's imposed war against Iran, occupation of Kuwait, military interventions against Iraq, brutal repression of the Palestinian people, assassination of common people and political figures in Iran, and terrorist bombings in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon are examples of violence in this region in the last three decades."
Rohani was clear, unambiguous, unequivocal and correct. Without naming names, he holds Washington and Israel fully responsible.
Palestine remains occupied, he said. "(T)he basic rights of Palestinians are tragically violated."
"(T)hey are deprived of the right of return and access to their homes, birthplace and homeland. Apartheid as a concept can hardly describe the crimes and the institutionalized aggression against the innocent Palestinian people."
Rohani called Syria a "human tragedy." It's "a painful example of catastrophic violence and extremism."
Western imperialism can't be "camouflaged behind humanitarian rhetoric."
World leaders should condemn what's happening. They should go all out to end if peacefully. Anything less shows complicity with what demands condemnation.
State-sponsored "(t)errorism and the killing of innocent people represent the ultimate inhumanity of extremism and violence."
It's a "violent scourge." It's in many forms. Without naming America, Rohani denounced drone wars.
He condemned "the criminal assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists." He wants guilty parties held accountable.
He knows Israel bears full responsibility. Mossad commits murder with impunity. It's done so for decades.
Rohani condemned "(u)njust sanctions." They're a "manifestation of structural violence," he said. They'e "intrinsically inhumane and against peace."
They're fundamentally lawless. They harm ordinary Iranians most. They're imposed for that reason.
"Common people are victimized," said Rohani, not "states (or) political elite(s)."
Western imposed sanctions "violate inalienable human rights," he stressed.
They include "the right to peace, right to development, right to access to health and education, and above all, the right to life."
"Sanctions, beyond any and all rhetoric, cause belligerence, warmongering and human suffering."
Violence and extremism harm "human societies."
They "leave no space for understanding and moderation."
"Intolerance is the predicament of our time."
"(H)uman society should be elevated from a state of mere tolerance to that of collective collaboration."
"We should not just tolerate others. We should rise above mere tolerance and dare to work together."
People everywhere "are tired of war, violence and extremism." They want peace, equity and justice. They deserve that much and more.
Warrior nations have something else in mind. They're "bent on extinguishing all hope."
"Hope is one of greatest gifts bestowed upon human beings by their All-Loving Creator. And moderation is to think and move in a wise, judicious manner."
Iran "defend(s) peace based on democracy and the ballot box everywhere, including in Syria, Bahrain, and other countries in the region."
"(T)here are no violent solutions to world crises."
Militarism is the scourge of world peace. It's polar opposite what people everywhere want. It bears repeating. They deserve that much and more.
"Iran and other (nations) should pursue two common objectives," said Rohani:
(1) "Iran's nuclear program (and) that of all other countries must pursue exclusively peaceful purposes."
"I declare here, openly and unambiguously, that, notwithstanding the positions of others, this has been, and will always be, the objective of the Islamic Republic of Iran."
"Nuclear weapon and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran's security and defense doctrine, and contradict our fundamental religious and ethical convictions."
"Our national interests make it imperative that we remove any and all reasonable concerns about Iran's peaceful nuclear program."
(2) Every nation is entitled to pursue peaceful nuclear development. No country of combination thereof has the right to deny them.
Iran's "prepared to engage immediately in time-bound and result-oriented talks to build mutual confidence and removal of mutual uncertainties with full transparency."
"Iran seeks constructive engagement with other countries based on mutual respect and common interest, and within the same framework does not seek to increase tensions with the United States" or any other country.
It wants equal treatment. It's been denied it for nearly 35 years. Washington and Israel bear full responsibility.
It's long past time the "military option" was taken off the table. "(L)et me say loud and clear that 'peace is within reach," Rohani stressed.
He proposed an important UN initiative. He calls it "the World Against Violence and Extremism (WAVE)."
"Let us all join this 'WAVE,' " he said.
"I invite all states, international organizations and civil institutions to undertake a new effort to guide the world in this direction."
"We should start thinking about 'Coalition for Enduing Peace' all across the globe instead of the ineffective 'Coalitions for War.' "
Rohani ended by expressing hope. He's optimistic about what lies ahead. He sees better times. Hopefully he's right.
History shows one century of war followed others. Today's super-weapons threaten humanity's survival. They do so potentially before this one ends.
Rohani believes world societies will reject violence and extremism. He thinks "prudent moderation" will triumph.
He concluded his speech, saying:
"And We proclaimed in the Psalms, after we had proclaimed in the Torah, that My virtuous servants will inherit the earth. (21:105)"
A better world is possible. Doing the right thing is its own reward. It's long past time world leaders took UN Charter provisions seriously.
It's high time they committed to saving humanity from the scourge of war. The alternative is too potentially catastrophic to risk. It's more true today than ever.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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