With a surprising salvo of bravado, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has asked the provocative question, “Does Iran have a right to exist?”
In the startling speech, he warned Western nations, especially European ones, that they will be hurt if they continue to insist that Iran should not be wiped off the map. And, during a national radio address, he hinted, “You should know that the rage of people is boiling hot enough to poach a dozen pigeon eggs and is like an ocean that is welling up even worse than Katrina. Once its storm begins blowing, it will go beyond the borders of Lebanon and Palestine, and it will, God willing, hurt Iran. ”
The President also told a throng of thousands that Iran could not last long after its experience in backing Hezbollah in its fight with Israel. “In devastating Hezbollah, ” he insisted, “Israel shattered the myth that Iran is undefeatable. So we have taken a giant step toward our cherished goal of convincing the entire world that Iran has no reason to exist. ”
State-run television reported demonstrations around the needlessly confrontational country, chanting “Death to Iran!” and “Long Live America!” Many of the demonstrators carried pictures of Israeli President Ehud Olmert and waved Israeli flags.
President Ahmadinejad maintained that he is prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to assure that Iran is, in his own words, “wiped off the map. ” As part of his relentless determination to achieve his somewhat counterproductive goal, he repeated that his nation would never stop its uranium enrichment program, regardless of the threat of sanctions.
In fact, he absolutely insisted that the West must go beyond mere sanctions and launch an outright attack, saying, “They want to use the Security Council as an instrument to put pressure on our people. But, thank God, they will never succeed, and I will be able to destroy Iran all by myself. ”
Meanwhile, the former president of Iran, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, added his voice to the warnings, saying, “I advise Western nations not to implement the harmful decision they have made over Iran’s nuclear program. The decision will have harmful consequences for the region, for them, as well as our country. ” But Rafsanjani, a relative moderate, restrained himself from making an outright plea for the destruction of his own country.
Meanwhile, flying in the face of Iranian demands for self-destruction, Britain’s ambassador to the U. N. said European countries intended to draft a resolution that calls for relatively mild sanctions, mostly limited to curbing Iran’s nuclear and ballistic-missile programs.
Iran’s foreign ministry was immediately incensed, insisting that Iran will not “remain idle if only sanctions are imposed. ”
The ISNA student news agency, which the world has been reduced to listening to for somewhat credible reports, said the ministry statement included, “It is a big miscalculation to think that the policy of a carrot and stick can be pursued at the same time. We Iranians don’t like carrots at all. In fact, carrots are a Western vegetable and therefore un-Islamic. We demand the unequivocal use of the stick. ”
Regrettably, no amount of pleading by Western leaders has been able to dissuade Mr. Ahmadinejad from his determination to wipe Iran off the map – a determination that becomes even more misguided when one suspects that most Iranians would probably rather he just shut his misspeaking yapper and concentrate on getting the nation’s dysfunctional economy up and running.
Should the nation survive Mr. Ahmadinejad’s demands for self-destruction, it is hoped that the people of Iran will begin to conduct themselves for their own peaceful and prosperous benefit – a course change that would result, not in Western sanctions, but in every possible encouragement.
Tom Attea, humorist and creator of NewsLaugh.com , has had six shows produced Off-Broadway. Critics have called his writing “delightfully funny, " “witty, " with “good, genuine laughs" and “great humor and ebullience. "