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Cancel The Visa

Friday, September 1, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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“Iran will not back down an inch,” was the reply of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to yesterday’s passing of the UN Security Council’s deadline by which Iran was to cease uranium enrichment.

Yesterday the president was correct to use blunt words about Iran:

This summer’s crisis in Lebanon has made it clearer than ever that the world now faces a grave threat from the radical regime in Iran. The Iranian regime arms, funds, and advises Hezbollah, which has killed more Americans than any terrorist network except al Qaeda. The Iranian regime interferes in Iraq by sponsoring terrorists and insurgents, empowering unlawful militias, and supplying components for improvised explosive devices. The Iranian regime denies basic human rights to millions of its people. And the Iranian regime is pursuing nuclear weapons in open defiance of its international obligations.

We know the death and suffering that Iran’s sponsorship of terrorists has brought, and we can imagine how much worse it would be if Iran were allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Many nations are working together to solve this problem. The United Nations passed a resolution demanding that Iran suspend its nuclear enrichment activities. Today is the deadline for Iran’s leaders to reply to the reasonable proposal the international community has made. If Iran’s leaders accept this offer and abandon their nuclear weapons ambitions, they can set their country on a better course. Yet, so far, the Iranian regime has responded with further defiance and delay. It is time for Iran to make a choice. We’ve made our choice: We will continue to work closely with our allies to find a diplomatic solution — but there must be consequences for Iran’s defiance, and we must not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.

Today those words should be backed up by action:  The White House should direct the State Department to cancel the visa it so unwisely issued to Ayatollah Khatemi, the former president of Iran.  Not to do so mocks the president’s speech and undermines the message he and the Security Council are sending to the mullahs.

The New York Sun rounds up reactions to the insane decision to issue the visa. Not surprisingly, the condemnation is widespread, as should be the case as Iran is arming terrorists who are –at this very hour– trying to kill American troops in Iraq and who have only recently been firing thousands of rockets at civilians in Israel.

The State Department isn’t even trying to defend the indefensible, as Powerline’s Scott Johnson discovered. 

There is probably some reluctance on the part of the president to embarrass the Secretary of State via a direct order to undo this deeply misguided decision, but it is very difficult to sustain a policy of focused resistance to the Iranian regime when the State Department undercuts it with actions that cannot be interpreted as other than the permanent bureaucracy’s mocking of the Administration’s plans.

Ahmadinejad’s public rejection of the deadline gives the Administration all the cover it needs to rebuke both Iran and the visa-givers.  Suggested statement here.

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