Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is slated to address the United Nations on Thursday, and so members of New York’s congressional delegation took the opportunity to unleash their inner-John Bolton, the Bush-era ambassador to the UN who famously advocated lopping ten stories off the building.
Standing in Ralph Bunche Park on the east side of Manhattan, as the UN Secretariat loomed behind, Queens congressman Anthony Weiner echoed Bolton.
“One snake slithers on to Manhattan island this time of year and we are all tested on how we respond to that,” he said. “And I can tell you, the United Nations behind me, you see the top few floors are under construction. If the United Nations does not stand up to Ahmadinejad, what are they even here for? You might as well stop the reconstruction now and tear the building down. If the United Nations does not exist for the purpose of stopping outlaw rogue nations like Ahmadinejad’s nation of Iran, they should not exist.”
Although bellicose rhetoric against both the U.N and Iran is far more likely to come from the mouths of Democrats than Republicans, Ahmadinejad is a much reviled figure in several circles that have a heavy influence in local elections–the LGBT community, the Jewish community, and human rights activists. Yesterday he met with the UN secretary general here.
Queens congressman Joe Crowley called such displays of comity tantamount to a felony.
“Crime scene tape should really be around the United Nations because later today a crime will take place. Ahmadinejad, the so-called President of Iran will speak there today to the rest of the world leaders. He is not a legitimate world leader. He should be arrested,” he said.
Manhattan congressman Jerrold Nadler went further, calling for military action against Iran.
“If the United Nations were remotely what its founders intended it to be, President Ahmadinejad would not be addressing it. Rather, his regime would be the subject of Article 51, collective military action by the United Nations. It would have been expelled from the U.N., and the U.N. would be dealing with it as the menace to world peace that it is,” he said.
Nadler also warned against taking too many lessons from history, and argued that just because the Soviet nuclear threat was taken care of without military action, people should not think that Iran can be deterred by mutually assured destruction as well.
“Unlike the Communists, this government has a large portion of religious fanatics in it. Religious fanatics who may welcome a holocaust, a nuclear holocaust, if it achieves their aims, if it brings about the return of the fifth Iman or whatever they want eschatologically.”
The event today was sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, which has launched an Iran180 project, designed to pressure the nation to adopt new policies on its nuclear program and its treatment of religious minorities and women. City officials–and possible 2013 mayoral contenders–Council speaker Christine Quinn, public advocate Bill deBlasio, and Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer also attended.