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September 4, 2006
Annan's Humiliating Adventure In Islamaland

Kofi Annan just got the clearest diplomatic humiliation since perhaps Neville Chamberlain, according to the AP. The UN Secretary-General traveled to Iran to ask Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to please stop issuing provocative Holocaust denials and to suspend uranium enrichment. Ahmadinejad responded with a handshake, a smile, and a newly-scheduled conference of Holocaust deniers:

The U.N. chief got little satisfaction Sunday at the close of his trip to Tehran, snubbed by Iran's leader over international demands to stop enriching uranium and ignored in warnings not to incite hatred by questioning the Holocaust.

In a provocative move on the final day of Kofi Annan's two-day visit, Iran announced it would host a conference to examine what it called exaggerations about the Holocaust, during which more than 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis. ...

"On the nuclear issue, the president reaffirmed to me Iran's preparedness and determination to negotiate" a solution to the nuclear confrontation, Annan said at the news conference.

However, Ahmadinejad "reiterated that he did not accept suspension before negotiations," the U.N. chief said, conveying Iran's rejection of a condition set by the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany.

The Iranians appear to take particular pleasure in the humiliation of Annan. We'd share that pleasure for anything that exposes the uselessness of the corrupt and incompetent Annan, but the Iranian response is unsettling. Annan has made it clear that he doesn't want any confrontation and has spent his life avoiding it, to the world's detriment. One would have expected the Iranians to exploit this, rather than just commit a flat-out humiliation of Annan.

It's one thing to defy the US and the UK, and even the UN Security Council. Making a fool out of a reliably pacifist world leader of Annan's significance is quite another. Either Iran no longer sees the need to appear cooperative, or they see Annan's usefulness as a shill at an end. Given Annan's still-considerable influence among the Third World, I'd have to conclude that Ahmadinejad has something up his sleeve that allows him enough confidence to be openly defiant of all.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 4, 2006 8:55 AM

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