JERUSALEM — With the United States and other nations extending an increasingly warm welcome to the new president of Iran at the United Nations this week in New York, Israel finds itself in a bind: eager to unmask what it sees as an empty charm offensive, yet at risk of being seen as a spoiler unwilling to consider the possibility of change in Tehran’s nuclear policy.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel expressed appreciation Tuesday for President Obama’s statement in his United Nations address that “Iran’s conciliatory words will have to be matched by action that is transparent and verifiable.” Mr. Netanyahu said, “Israel would welcome a genuine diplomatic solution that truly dismantles Iran’s capacity to develop nuclear weapons.” But he ordered Israel’s delegation to boycott the speech by the new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, and accused Iran of offering only “cosmetic concessions.”
Obama’s U.N. Speech Showed Indifference to Freedom and Religious Minorities in Middle East
President Obama’s speech to the United Nations today displayed the tone-deafness to freedom and to the fate of non-Muslim peoples in the Middle East that he has shown since coming to office.
When he discussed Iran, a vicious dictatorship whose regime is rejected by the great majority of that nation’s population, what words of encouragement did he have for the Iranian people? None. On the contrary he said, “We are not seeking regime change,” reassuring not the people but their rulers. Adding insult to injury he then said, “Iran’s genuine commitment to go down a different path [on nuclear weapons] will be good for the region and the world, and will help the Iranian people meet their extraordinary potential — in commerce and culture; in science and education.”