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u.n. leader’s visit to Iran is an outrage

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows (left) Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani attend

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows (left), Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani attend a ceremony on Aug. 19 dring which Khamenei said that the “cancerous tumor” of Israel is the

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Updated: September 25, 2012 10:45AM

It was probably bound to happen, but that doesn’t make it any less deplorable or less damaging to prospects for a more peaceable world. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations decided to make Tehran the diplomatic center of the world next week by attending a meeting of the nonaligned countries in Iran.

The argument for Ban to go is that this constitutes a meeting of a lot of nations — 120 — from the U.N.’s biggest voting bloc. The argument against his attendance — and the resulting prestige it bestows on a rogue regime — is one of simple morality. As the Geneva-based monitoring group U.N. Watch put it, “Diplomacy cannot trump decency.”

For Ban to show up at this showcase for Iranian breast-beating means a big gulp of swallowing U.N. pride because Tehran has time and again thumbed its nose at U.N. resolutions, forging ahead full speed in its drive to develop nuclear weapons. The Obama administration is trying to halt that program with sanctions meant to squeeze Iran economically and isolate it diplomatically. In one visit, Ban deals a devastating blow to that campaign and allows the Islamist fanatics in Tehran to trumpet their message that Iran, far from being isolated, is the rising power in the Middle East while the United States and its Western allies are on the way out.

This couldn’t have come at a worse time. According the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, new intelligence obtained by the United States, Israel and other Western countries shows Iran’s nuclear weapons program is progressing faster than previously assessed.

Ban’s visit ignores the meddling of Iran in the affairs of its neighbors. Tehran funnels arms, intelligence, training, strategic personnel and other support to the Syrian despot Bashar Assad, who has killed thousands of his own people to try to crush their rebellion.

An official of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council visited Damascus recently to declare Tehran “will never allow the resistance axis — of which Syria is an essential pillar — to break.” In Iraq, Iran provides weapons, training, funding and “guidance” to Shiite gangs that attack Americans and Iraqis, according to the State Department. It also ships mortars, artillery and rockets to our Taliban enemies in Afghanistan.

Iran remains a state sponsor of terrorism. Last year it plotted, unsuccessfully, to kill a Saudi diplomat in Washington. Its proxy, the terrorist organization Hezbollah, blew up a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, killing seven. The London Telegraph reports that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has ordered new terror attacks against the West in retaliation for support of Syria’s rebels and of sanctions against Tehran.

Iran promotes the destruction of Israel with venomous anti-Semitic rhetoric. Khamenei the other day called Israel “a cancerous tumor” in the Muslim world. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on “all human communities to wipe out this scarlet letter, meaning the Zionist regime.”

A spokesman for Ban said he sees an “opportunity” to have a “meaningful and fruitful discussions with the supreme leader.”

What part of “cancerous tumor” does Ban not understand? No doubt it would have been difficult for Ban to boycott a meeting of so many nations. But sometimes history requires one person to do the right thing. Think of how meaningful a message Ban could have delivered by standing up to one of the world’s most notorious, evil regimes.

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