Ex-Sen. Lieberman: UN Should Treat Rouhani As Pariah, Not Honored Guest

By Patrick Goodenough | September 21, 2016 | 5:53 AM EDT

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his delegation walk through the U.N. General Assembly hall in New York on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
(CNSNews.com) – Iranian President Hasan Rouhani should be treated as an international pariah, not an honored guest, former Sen. Joe Lieberman said at a rally outside United Nations headquarters on Tuesday, a day before Rouhani is scheduled to speak there.

Lieberman compared the Iranian regime to that led by Kim Jong-un in North Korea, saying both were “brutal” and totalitarian and spend “much too much money building weapons to threaten to their neighbors.”

The U.N. should treat Rouhani as it would treat Kim Jong-un, he said.

“The fact is that the regime in Iran has more blood on its hands than even the regime in Pyongyang, so we say to the United Nations: Don’t be fooled by Rouhani’s smile.”

Lieberman said Rouhani was “a puppet” for supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

The former Democratic senator from Connecticut, now chairman of United Against a Nuclear Iran – a bipartisan lobby group opposed to the nuclear agreement negotiated with Tehran – said Iran’s behavior has worsened over the nine months since that deal was implemented.

“Remember that people in the United States government and all the governments of the P5+1 [negotiating group] said this agreement would moderate the government in Iran, would change its behavior, would bring it to be a member of the civilized community of nations,” he said.

“Look at the record, there’s absolutely no change in the behavior of the regime in Tehran; it is in fact worse in every way.”

Lieberman said the regime was using the money it has received from the U.S. and others, strengthening its grip on the country and suppressing the rights of the Iranian people, while supporting terrorists and sponsoring aggression in the region.

The only way to change the regime, he said, “is for the people of Iran to rise up and oust” it.

“This regime under Khamenei, the IRGC, Rouhani, has violated all of those principles of the United Nations Charter,” Lieberman said. “It is why Rouhani should not be greeted as an honored guest, but as an international pariah, but as a violator of the principles of the United Nations.”

Caricature masks of Iranian President Hasan Rouhani and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are placed near photos of executed Iranians during a rally outside United Nations headquarters in New York on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016.

Tuesday’s rally, organized by the Organization of Iranian American Communities, called for justice for the victims of the mass executions of dissidents almost 30 years ago, and also highlighted the regime’s current use of the death penalty. (Almost 1,000 executions were reported to have taken place in 2015, a 20-year high.)

Also addressing the rally was Pastor Saeed Abedini, a convert from Islam and U.S. citizen who until his release last January was serving an eight-year prison term in Iran after being convicted of “crimes against national security.”

He recalled that in one of the prisons he was incarcerated in, every Wednesday prisoners would be taken out in the early hours and executed.

Abedini said he could not help but compare the welcome Iranian leaders get at the U.N. to a situation in which ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi comes to the U.N. in 30 years’ time, “and all the leaders of the world, they shake his hand.”

He ended his remarks with a prayer, “in Jesus’ name,” for all the suffering people in Iran and the region.


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Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow