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This post originally appeared on www.freedomcollection.org.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke before the United Nations (UN) General Assembly for what should be a final time as head of state. Ahmadinejad is infamous for his inflammatory remarks and eyebrow raising rhetoric. One cannot soon forget his reference to Israel as a “stinking corpse.” While the true power in Tehran rests with the Ayatollah and influential mullahs, the president serves as the Islamic republic’s megaphone to the world and shapes international perceptions. As such, we can assume that when Mr. Ahmadinejad calls for a new world order that is “just and fair… in which everybody is equal before law and in which there is no double standard,” it reflects the will of the Iranian theocracy. Does this mean that the leadership in Iran has seen the light and is open to a new era of international cooperation? Sadly, I doubt it. Alternatively, it could mean that a warmer, fuzzier Ahmadinejad abandoned his ridiculous rhetoric, defied the regime’s theocratic elite, and went rogue on his final UN address. That has all the makings of a classic conspiracy theory, but as often goes with such territory, not believable. Besides, toned down as it may have been in comparison to previous years, there was still plenty of vintage Ahmadinejad in this speech. So, we are left to wonder, what exactly is the meaning of fairness and justice that Mr. Ahmadinejad espouses for a new world order? On the surface, the statement sounds well meaning, but is he referring to the standards of fairness and justice levied by the Ayatollah in Tehran? If so, the prospects for this new order are dark indeed. The regime often displays how it views justice, sacrificing the economic welfare of its people in the selfish pursuit of nuclear weapons. Moreover, we’ve seen its view of fairness, pulverizing political dissent and treating women as second-class citizens, discriminating against them in both the family and the workplace. Such actions tell us all we need to know about Mr. Ahmadinejad’s sincerity at the UN. For a more realistic perspective, Iranian dissidents Nima Rashedan, who discusses repressive measures against freedom of expression, and Mohsen Sazegara, who relays the regime’s treatment of women, provide firsthand accounts of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s version of fairness and justice: This post was written by Christopher Walsh, Program Coordinator of the Freedom Collection.
Christopher Walsh serves as Senior Program Manager for the Human Freedom and Women's Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. In this role, Christopher manages communications, evaluation, and public policy research projects that advance freedom and democracy in the world. He also develops and implements efforts to make the Bush Institute a welcoming place for today’s generation of dissidents and democracy advocates, overseeing visits for training, inspiration, and insight.
Prior to joining the Bush Institute, Christopher worked with the International Republican Institute in Washington, D.C. As IRI’s program officer for Central and Eastern Europe, he coordinated political party building and civic advocacy programs in the Balkans and Turkey.
A native of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Christopher is a graduate of American University with a B.A. in International Studies. He currently lives in Dallas with his wife and three young children.Full Bio
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