Friday, December 16, 2005

Thoughts From Panama: What can be done about Iranian President?

I am writing this from Panama City, Panama where I spent about two hours with reporters from major Panamanian newspapers, including the paper which former President Noreiga closed down.

Both reporters wanted to know what's the most efficacious reaction to President Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust and calls for wiping Israel off the map.

I said that the world's leaders should make it clear that if Iran is going to have at its helm a person who makes these kinds of statements, the rest of the world is going to be terribly leery of dealing with it.

In the final paragraph of History on Trial I mention that some people throw "bombs" which cause great damage while others throw the words which cause the others to throw the bombs. That's the danger of statements such as Ahmadinejad's.

Criticism of Ahmadinejad is coming from a broad range of Iranians who seem to realize that these kinds of statement will do their country no good. As the Washington Post reported:


A fundamentalist lawmaker in the national assembly expressed revulsion when neo-Nazis abroad voiced solidarity with Ahmadinejad's suggestion that Israel be "wiped off the map."


"Their support of Mr. Ahmadinejad's comments is beneath the dignity of the Islamic Republic, and the government should make its position clear about this," said the lawmaker,
Heshmatollah Falahatzadeh, according to an Iranian news service.

"Our officials should realize that there are many facts in the world that we should not pass our judgments on in a way that the world finds fault with.


Diplomats from E.U. countries have been attempting to negotiate a deal with Iran by which it would terminate parts of its nuclear program that could be used to make weapons.


Iran says that its program is solely to produce electricity. "Ahmadinejad has been making these comments about Israel, and people are now beginning to take a look at their own policies about how they are going to deal with this regime," said a British official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with the British government's media policy.

"The kind of statements that are coming from Tehran will give everyone pause for thought," the official said.

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