BRUSSELS--Making the case for United Nations intervention against the United States, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami told the organization yesterday that military action will be "unavoidable" unless the U.S. agrees to destroy its weapons of mass destruction.
In a much-anticipated speech to a special session of the U.N. General Assembly held in Brussels, Khatami launched a blistering attack against American leader George W. Bush, accusing him of defying U.N. resolutions and using his country's wealth to line the pockets of wealthy cronies at a time when the people of his country make do without such basic social programs as national health insurance.
"Nearly two years ago, the civilized world watched as this evil and corrupt dictator subverted the world's oldest representative democracy in an illegal coup d'etat," said Khatami. "Since then the Bush regime has continued America's systematic repression of ethnic and religious minorities and threatened international peace and security throughout the world. Thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment. Basic civil rights have been violated. This rogue state has flouted the international community on legal, economic and environmental issues. It has even ignored the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war by denying that its illegal invasion of Afghanistan--which has had a destabilizing influence throughout Central Asia--was a war at all."
Khatami said the U.S. possesses the world's largest arsenal of nuclear weapons, weapons "that, when first developed, were used immediately to kill over one hundred thousand innocent civilians just months after acquiring them. No nation that has committed nuclear genocide can be entrusted with weapons of mass destruction."
"Bush has invaded Afghanistan and is now threatening Iraq. We cannot stand by and do nothing while danger gathers. We can't allow this tyrant to strike first. We have an obligation to act preemptively to protect the world from this evildoer," Khatami said.
As delegates punctuated his words with bursts of applause, Khatami noted that U.S. intelligence agencies had helped establish and fund the world's most virulent terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda, and the Taliban regime that harbored them. "The U.S. created the Islamist extremists who attacked its people on September 11, 2001," he stated, "and Bush's illegitimate junta cynically exploited those attacks to repress political dissidents, make sweetheart deals with politically-connected corporations and revive 19th century-style colonial imperialism."
Khatami asked the U.N. to set a deadline for Bush to step down in favor of president-in-exile Al Gore, the legitimate winner of the 2000 election, the results of which were subverted through widespread voting irregularities and intimidation. "We favor not regime change, but rather restoration and liberation," he said. In addition, Khatami said, the U.S. must dismantle its weapons of mass destruction, guarantee basic human rights to all citizens and agree to abide by international law or "face the consequences."
Most observers agree that those "consequences" would likely include a prolonged bombing campaign targeting major U.S. cities and military installations, followed by a ground invasion led by European forces. "Civilian casualties would likely be substantial," said a French military analyst. "But the American people must be liberated from tyranny."
Khatami's charges, which were detailed in a dossier prepared by French President Jacques Chirac, were dismissed by a representative of the American strongman as "lies, half-truths and misguided beliefs, motivated by the desire to control a country with oil, natural gas and other natural resources."
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice denied that the U.S. maintains weapons of mass destruction and invited U.N. inspectors to visit Washington to "see for themselves that our weapons are designed only to keep the peace, subject of course to full respect for American sovereignty."
The U.N. is expected to reject any conditions for or restrictions on arms inspections. Experts believe that the liberation of the United States will require a large ground force of European and other international troops, followed by a massive rebuilding program costing billions of euros.
"Even before Bush, the American political system was a shambles," said Prof. Salvatore Deluna of the University of Madrid. "Their single-party plutocracy will have to be reshaped into true parliamentary-style democracy. Moreover, the economy will have to be retooled from its current military dictatorship model -- in which a third of the federal budget goes to arms, and taxes are paid almost exclusively by the working class -- to one in which basic human needs such as education and poverty are addressed. Their infrastructure is a mess; they don't even have a national passenger train system. Fixing a failed state of this size will require many years."
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