Iran: Barack Obama Should Apologize for 60 Years of ‘Crimes’

Daily News Article   —   Posted on January 28, 2009

Note:  This article is from the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph:

(from Telegraph.co.uk) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demanded on Wednesday that US President Barack Obama apologise for the “crimes” committed by the United States against Iran over the past 60 years.

The hardline leader also called on Washington to withdraw its troops from across the world as a proof of Mr Obama’s commitment to change.

“You were standing against the Iranian people in the past 60 years,” Mr Ahmadinejad said during an address in the western region of Khermenshah that was broadcast by state television.

“Those who speak of change must apologise to the Iranian people and try to repair their past bad acts and the crimes they committed against Iran.”

As to the troops, he said he expected two kinds of “deep and fundamental” change.

“Meet people, talk to them with respect and put an end to the expansionist policies. If you talk about change it must put an end to the US military presence in the world, withdraw your troops and take them back inside your borders.”

Mr Ahmadinejad said the advocates of change must “stop supporting the Zionists, outlaws and criminals”.

He called on the United States to “stop interfering in other people’s affairs”.

He also said the US government should “let the American people decide their own future … Stop pressuring them,” he added, without saying what he was referring to.

Mr Ahmadinejad said he welcomed change but the “change has to be fundamental”.

“If someone wants to talk with us in the language that (George W) Bush used … even if he uses new words, our response will be the same that we gave to Bush during the past years,” he added.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran has been high over the latter’s nuclear programme.

Mr Bush refused to hold talks with Iran until it stopped its nuclear work, but on Monday Mr Obama extended a diplomatic hand towards Tehran to break the deadlock.

In an interview with Al-Arabia television, Mr Obama promised to lay a framework for his policy towards Iran.

“As I said in my inauguration speech, if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.

“It is very important for us to make sure that we are using all the tools of US power, including diplomacy, in our relationship with Iran.”

Also on Monday, Washington’s UN ambassador, Susan Rice, pledged “direct” support to Tehran if it halts the nuclear programme.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – plus Germany have offered Tehran economic and energy incentives in exchange for halting its uranium enrichment programme.

But Tehran is pressing on with the work, insisting that its nuclear programme is peaceful and solely geared toward electricity generation.

The Security Council has already adopted four resolutions – three of which included sanctions – requiring Iran to suspend enrichment.

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Questions

1. a) What is the capital of Iran?
b) Who is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

2. Why did Mr. Ahmadinejad say that President Obama should apologize to the Iranian people?

3. List the actions Mr. Ahmadinejad says President Obama should take to show real change in his administration.

4. What did President Obama say about his policy toward Iran in an interview with an Arab TV station earlier this week?

5. What does Mr. Ahmadinejad think of President Obama’s offer of using diplomacy in his policy toward Iran?

6. a) What have the U.S. and other members of the UN Security Council offered to do if Iran ends its uranium enrichment program (which they are using to build nuclear weapons)?
b) How has Tehran (the Iranian government) responded?

7. Iran denies that its nuclear program is intended to build weapons. The world knows that they are building nuclear weapons. The Bush administration declined to negotiate directly with Iran. President Obama has said he favors tough and direct diplomacy with Iran without
preconditions, and that his administration, working with allies, will seek a comprehensive settlement with Iran to end its nuclear ambitions.
Read the information on Iran’s nuclear program and the NPT under “Background” below.
Do you think President Obama’s plan to use tough diplomacy will work with a man like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Explain your answer.

 


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Background

ON IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM:

  • Iran’s 20 year secret nuclear program was discovered in 2002.  Iran says its program is for fuel purposes only, but it has been working on uranium enrichment which is used to make nuclear bombs.  Under the  NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty) countries are not allowed to make nuclear weapons (except for the 5 that had nuclear weapons prior to the treaty – the U.S., Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom).
  • The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, issued a report Monday on Sept. 15, 2008 that said Iran has repeatedly blocked an investigation into its nuclear program and the probe is now deadlocked.
  • The U.N. Security Council has already imposed three sets of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear defiance.  Despite the sanctions, Iran has refused to end its nuclear program.
  • France called the Sept. 15th findings “very worrisome” and called for new U.N. sanctions against Iran, and the U.S. spoke of “the possibility of new sanctions” if Iran continues to defy the U.N.
  • However, Russia and China, who like the U.S. and France have veto power over U.N. Security Council resolutions, would likely resist a fourth round of sanctions against Iran. Britain, the fifth veto-wielding member of the Security Council, is aligned with the U.S. and France.
  • The Iranian government has called for the destruction of Israel on numerous occasions.  It is believed that once obtained, Iranian President Ahmadinejad would use nuclear weapons against Israel.

ON THE NPT:
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT or NNPT) is a treaty to limit the spread of nuclear weapons, opened for signature on July 1, 1968. There are currently 189 countries party to the treaty, five of which have nuclear weapons: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and the People’s Republic of China (the permanent members of the UN Security Council).

Only four recognized sovereign states are not parties to the treaty: India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea. India, Pakistan and North Korea have openly tested and are presumed to possess nuclear weapons. Israel has had a policy of nontransparancy regarding its own nuclear weapons program. North Korea acceded to the treaty, violated it, and later withdrew.

Although the concept of “pillars” appears nowhere in the NPT, the treaty is nevertheless sometimes interpreted as having three pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament, and the right to peacefully use nuclear technology. 
(read the text of the NPT at un.org/events/npt2005/npttreaty.html.