Joined: 24 Feb 2003
|Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:25 pm Post subject: Sanctions must be imposed on Ahmadinejad
|Sanctions must be imposed on Ahmadinejad
Putting sanctions on Ahmadinejad would send an important message to the Iranian people. It is intolerable that such a step has not been taken.
By Shlomo Avineri
January 2, 2012
In the public discourse about how to deal with the Iranian challenge, a distinction must be made between the nuclear issue and the racist rhetoric of the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who denies the Holocaust and calls for the destruction of Israel. The response to the nuclear issue is not simple, but it is at the center of the international agenda and seems to have picked up momentum recently. The same cannot be said of the second issue: Here both the international community and the Jewish public have failed to provide a suitable response. As was to have been be expected, there have been condemnations from heads of state and other leaders, but that is it.
Let us assume for a moment that the head of a European country were to say that the Holocaust did not take place and that the State of Israel must be destroyed. There is no doubt that the European Union's reaction would have been to recall ambassadors, if not to break off diplomatic relations or declare that leader persona non grata in EU member states. Because of less severe statements by Joerg Haider, Austria was almost banished from the EU. And the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko - who is not a danger to anyone except the citizens of his country - has been forbidden from entering any of the EU countries.
Sanctions of this kind were not imposed on Ahmadinejad and this constitutes a severe political and moral failure, especially on the part of Europe which in recent years has taken significant steps to include remembrance of the Holocaust in textbooks and in the collective memory.
The way in which the nuclear arming of Iran is treated is one thing, but in this case we are talking about a basic issue in which Europe can exert the so-called soft power of which it is so proud. It is not too late. There is no reason why the EU should not declare Ahmadinejad persona non grata in its region. While the Iranian president is not keen to take a trip around the Continent, denouncing him as someone who is not wanted there would send an important message to the Iranian people. Sanctions must be imposed only on the Iranian president and not on the state. It is intolerable that such a step has not yet been taken. . . . [More]
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