AFP: US Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Monday called for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be banned from the UN General Assembly next week and indicted for genocide. WASHINGTON (AFP) US Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Monday called for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be banned from the UN General Assembly next week and indicted for genocide.
The former Massachusetts governor called on United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to revoke Ahmadinejad’s invitation to the assembly and warned that absent strong action, Washington should reconsider support for the world body.
“I call on the United Nations to revoke any invitation to President Ahmadinejad to address the General Assembly,” Romney wrote in a letter to Ban.
“If President Ahmadinejad sets foot in the United States, he should be handed an indictment under the Genocide Convention,” Romney wrote.
“The United States and the world must take a strong stand against the terrorist Iranian regime and the time for action is now.”
If the United Nations fails to act on the threat from Iran, Romney said “the United States must reconsider its level of support and funding for the United Nations as we look to rebuild and revitalize effective international partnerships to meet 21st century threats.”
Romney, a multi-millionaire former businessman, is credited with saving the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics from financial ruin. He leads opinion polls in the Republican race in the key early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
In the letter, he complained that Ahmadinejad had “spoken openly about wiping Israel off the map, has fueled Hezbollah’s terror campaign in the region and around the world, and defied the world community in its pursuit of nuclear weapons capabilities.”
He also pointed to testimony by US Iraq war commander David Petraeus last week to Congress that Iran was supporting Shia extremists in Iraq responsible for the deaths of US soldiers.
Monday’s letter was not the first time that Romney has publicly criticized Iran.
At the annual political conference in Herzliya, Israel this year, he described Tehran as the heart of the global “Jihadist threat” and represented the greatest challenge to the world “since the fall of the Soviet Union, and before that, Nazi Germany.”
This year’s UN General Assembly comes at another moment of high tension between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear program, and its alleged role in war-torn Iraq.
Last year, at the UN General Assembly meetings, Ahmadinejad launched a scathing attack on the United States and Britain, accusing them of manipulating the world body to deny his country the benefits of nuclear power.
He charged that some governments objecting to the Iranian nuclear program “have abused nuclear technology for non-peaceful ends including the production of nuclear bombs” and “some even have a bleak record of using them against humanity.”
Iran denies allegations by Western powers that its nuclear program is an attempt to manufacture nuclear weapons.