Ahmadinejad in the UN: A second try

NEW YORK. (RIA Novosti political commentator Dmitry Kosyrev) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made his debut appearance as an international-scale politician in the UN in September 2005. He proclaimed an end to the era of pressure and intimidation.

He was so convincing that everyone concluded that if he kept his chair, he had a fair chance to become a respected international leader, if Iran avoided the fate of Iraq.

Ahmadinejad has kept his post but, judging by his address to the 61st General Assembly, which began on September 13, 2006, has failed to win the reputation of an international leader.

He was not as lucky as last year. He took the floor at 7:30 in the afternoon, clad in a light colored suit and a pink shirt without a tie. By that time, the audience had become tired, but that was not the main problem. One cannot enter the same river twice, and Ahmadinejad has made enough speeches for the world to become accustomed to his style.

What the international community saw as the desperate courage of the doomed a year ago looks different today. It is clear that Ahmadinejad and Iran he represents will not disappear from the map soon. Therefore, the world expected him to voice fundamentally new ideas to strengthen his reputation as a global leader.

Ahmadinejad lived up to the first part of the expectations. In the past year, he repeatedly criticized the Untied States and Israel; this time he chose to attack the UN Security Council, saying that it needed more legitimacy and that its structure and methods did not correspond to the world's requirements.

The Security Council can theoretically adopt a decision on sanctions against Iran, at which American diplomats have been hinting. But Ahmadinejad spoke of the Council's actions during the wars in Iraq and Lebanon. He said its efforts were impeded by the countries that were actively involved in the war or that supported an ally who had started the war, apparently referring to the U.S. and Britain.

Only the lazy have not written about this, but nobody has criticized the Security Council for disregarding the principles of ultimate justice, love, compassion, truth and tranquilly, and nobody has said that relations between nations should be ethical and spiritual.

Ahmadinejad mentioned God at least 15 times in his address, which actually was a brilliantly formulated sermon befitting a member of civilization that had been old during Emperor Constantine, who built the capital of Byzantium. It was a sermon that surpassed the boundaries of Islam and touched on the principles that are the same for all religions which originated in the Holy Land, and all "People of the Book" - Christians, Jews and Muslims.

Injustice and the amoral structure of the world have been discussed at length in the UN since its second birth, when dozens of newly independent states joined it at the turn of the 1960s. A comparison of the defense spending of the Untied States and other equally powerful countries with the financial requirements of some continents for fighting AIDS or the shortage of fresh water are a classical example. It could be again made in the UN as you read this article.

The trouble is that such speeches are only one element of a multitude of other factors that encourage economic progress and consequently the growth of developing countries' influence. Ahmadinejad addressed reasonable and experienced people, who know that speaking up about things everyone knows looks good but real politics is a highly practical business. Tehran is doing it very cleverly at the talks on its nuclear programs.

Everyone knows that the UN Security Council is not ideal, but we cannot do without it. In short, it is not enough to diagnose a disease; one should also suggest a treatment.

Iran's president suggested saving the Security Council from its fate. To adjust it to the principle of ultimate justice, the Council should accept representatives of the Non-Aligned Movement (116 countries, or nearly the whole of the developing world), the Islamic Conference, and the Organization of African Unity as permanent members with the right of veto.

But this would not solve any of the problems mentioned by Ahmadinejad, because the U.S. and Britain will retain their right of veto. So the idea looks fine but it is not new, and can hardly help the nations "to partake of the sweet fruit of a better future."

Iran is not the only country claiming the strategic role of the leader of the developing world. China has been working long and hard to take it, with the result that its international weight has been growing. Beijing is acting slowly and carefully, seldom proclaiming its position as outspokenly as Tehran, but it invariably attains more than Cuba's Fidel Castro has achieved.

Castro has addressed the UN General Assembly almost every year in the past few decades. The majority of the audience nod, admitting that the Cuban leader's ideas are true and correct, but afterwards ask themselves if speaking up is enough to resolve problems.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

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