Commentary and Newsletters

Anne Bayefsky

Obama's U.N. Double Talk: The Iran Fraud

Saturday, September 26, 2009

This article, by Anne Bayefsky, originally appeared in National Review Online.

On Wednesday, President Obama told the United Nations General Assembly that "if the governments of Iran and North Korea choose to ignore international standards . . . then they must be held accountable. The world must stand together to demonstrate that international law is not an empty promise, and that treaties will be enforced." [Emphasis added].

A day later, the president chaired a session of the U.N. Security Council. He turned it into a summit of heads of state and chose the agenda. He insisted - in the words of the advance American "concept paper" - that "The Security Council Summit will focus on nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament broadly and not focus on any specific countries" [Emphasis added].

Obama pushed hard for the adoption of a new Security Council resolution, which was passed unanimously, and which never mentions Iran or North Korea. Upon pounding the gavel, the president proclaimed:

    The resolution we passed today will also strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT]. We have made it clear that the Security Council has both the authority and the responsibility to respond to violations to this treaty. We've made it clear that the Security Council has both the authority and responsibility to determine and respond as necessary when violations of this treaty threaten international peace and security. That includes full compliance with Security Council resolutions on Iran and North Korea. Let me be clear: This is not about singling out individual nations. . . . [W]e must demonstrate that international law is not an empty promise, and that treaties will be enforced.
However, speaking today in Pittsburgh, Obama admitted that
    yesterday in Vienna, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France presented detailed evidence to the IAEA demonstrating that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been building a covert uranium enrichment facility near Qom for several years. . . . The existence of this facility underscores Iran's continuing unwillingness to meet its obligations under U.N. Security Council resolutions. . . . Iran's decision to build yet another nuclear facility without notifying the IAEA represents a direct challenge to the basic compact at the center of the non-proliferation regime. . . . [T]he size and configuration of this facility is inconsistent with a peaceful program. Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow . . . [and is] threatening the stability and security of the region and the world.
In other words, when President Obama addressed the General Assembly and Security Council he already knew that Iran was ignoring international standards, and its latest violations endangered international peace and security more than ever before. And yet he deliberately refused to put Iran on the agenda of the Council summit - the same Council that he claimed bore responsibility for responding to such threats.

President Obama knew that if the magnitude of the Iranian threat were revealed yesterday, the emptiness of his resolution would have been embarrassingly obvious and his cover blown. In public, at the highest levels of the U.N, he heralded generalities as significant. In private, he was petitioning lower levels of the U.N. to act on startling specifics of the Iranian threat.

Why did the president not present this same evidence to the Security Council, the body with "the authority and the responsibility to respond"? Why did he not challenge world leaders to deal with the same Iranian threat that he privately was pressing upon U.N. bureaucrats?

There is only one possible answer: President Obama does not have the political will to do what it takes to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb.