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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Iranian leader and Ground Zero?

Published: October 1, 2007
Section: Opinions

One of the most recognized personalities in modern day politics is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The only known fact about the Shiite leader of Iran is just that, his presidency. However, there is much speculation among a vast majority of the world community as to other components of Ahmadinejad's resume. Most notable is his massive expansion of uranium enrichment in Iran. Currently, Iran has over 300 centrifuges operating to enrich uranium. Ahmadinejad claims that this is all for the supply of nuclear energy to Iranian citizens to lower the current costs of energy.

However, most members of the world community outside of Ahmadinejad's supporters believe that the ultimate goal is the development of a nuclear weapon. Intuition is no sweat. The United states have nuclear weapons, Russia has nuclear weapons, Israel has nuclear weapons, and so far the world hasnt been blown to bits.

Nevertheless, the world is still paranoid by even the idea that Iran might come to possess nuclear weapons, a phobia that is not out of place. Ahmadinejad has frequently voiced his anti-Western opinions, and appears to be getting no more cordial toward the world superpowers. The Iranian has also called for the ultimate destruction of Israel, the quintessential Western state in the Middle East. Ahmadinejad has alleged that the Jews, a people that fabricated the phenomenon of the Holocaust in order to establish for themselves a state, should be drowned in the sea and Israel wiped off the map.

For Iran to carry through with these claims the only realistic option is nuclear warfare. The Israeli Defense Force is too strong, and foreign support of the United States and other countries too unwavering (on this issue at least), for a typical (however that could be described in the modern day) war to benefit Iran. If the Iranian presidents claims are legitimate, which given their frequency it would be hard to question, there can be no doubt as to the purpose of the 300 centrifuges currently operating in Iran: nuclear weapons.

However, more pressing than the future is the present. It is believed by many that much of the financial support for al-Qaida in Iraq is the Iranian government led by Ahmadenajad. It is also believed that Iran was a major sponsor of the Hezbollah army in Israels war in Lebanon during the summer of 2006. Irans government is believed to provide funding and weapons support to many terrorist organizations that combat the West.

Therefore, it seemed quite surprising when I read that the Iranian president asked to visit Ground Zero, the site of the former World Trade Center, to lay a wreath during his visit to New York next month when he will address the United Nations General Assembly at their opening session. Shortly after this request was made, the New York Police Department issued a statement saying that they will not grant the world leader his wish. Their claim: Ground Zero is a construction site, not open to the public. Though Ahmadinejad may view this statement of policy as discrimination, this discrimination is the same reason the 9/11 commemoration ceremony was not held at Ground Zero this past year for the first time. Ahmadinejad should take solace in the fact that the NYPD is discriminating against him in the same way that they are discriminating against the widows, children and parents of 9/11 victims.

But even if the Iranian leader were allowed to visit the site, who would he be mourning? Certainly not the Americans who comprised the majority of 9/11 casualties and were the declared target. With all that the Bush administration and the American public have done to try and counter Ahmadinejad's rising influence, it is certain that he doesnt care about them. It is certainly not the Jews. No logical person could argue that despite all of Ahmadinejads hatred toward Israel he would feel remorse for the Jews killed in 9/11.

The only plausible group of people whose memory Ahmadinejad might wish to commemorate would be other Muslims. However, the chances are low that any significant percentage of the Muslims killed in the attack would be extremist to the extent of supporting Ahmadinejad and his policies. His request is therefore a mockery. Were Ahmadenajad to possess any positive feelings toward the US in any form, he needs first to prove it by cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the UN. He needs to cease funding terrorist organizations in Lebanon and Iraq and radical regimes in Syria. Maybe then we can come to the table and negotiate a visit to Ground Zero at next years opening session.