Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!

Questions for an Ahmadinejad / Obama Debate

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected in New York this September to attend the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly. While members will convene to assess progress made in achieving the U.N.’s 2015 Millennium Development Goals, Ahmadinejad sees in the summit an opportunity to accomplish one of his own:

“We are ready to sit down with Mr. Obama face-to-face and put the global issues on the table, man-to-man, freely and in front of the media, and see whose solutions are better.”

The White House predictably spurned Ahmadinejad’s challenge to a televised debate, depriving the international community of hearing answers to these questions:

Questions for President Obama

1. The National Intelligence Estimate [a consensus view of 16 American spy agencies] concluded that Iran halted a nuclear weapons program in 2003 and has seen no evidence it was ever restarted. Iran, unlike Israel, is as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has allowed IAEA inspectors into the country to verify this assessment. Therefore, under the NPT, do they not have the right to develop nuclear energy for civilian purposes? And why has the U.S. rejected Iran’s nuclear fuel-swap agreement with Turkey—precisely the kind of exchange your country once advocated?

2. After decades of providing Israel with a three billion dollar annual disbursement—making it the world’s largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid—and in light of the animosity generated by its illegal expropriation and settlement of Palestinian land as stipulated by the Fourth Geneva Convention and innumerable U.N. resolutions, can you tell us exactly what political, economic, military or strategic advantage Israel provides the U.S. in return?

3. Why did your administration express more outrage at Helen Thomas’ comments on Palestine than the murder of an unarmed American civilian aboard the relief vessel Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos?

4. Why is the U.S. instigating sectarian strife and instability in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province through CIA funding of the al-Qaeda affiliated, Sunni insurgent terrorist group Jundullah?

5. How is unqualified U.S. support for a host of Mideast dictatorships that govern without popular mandate and routinely disregard the will of their people—especially as it pertains to ending the siege of Gaza—consistent with the high priority your country places on establishing democratic institutions in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Questions for President Ahmadinejad

1. Is Iran’s alleged civilian nuclear program merely a slow run-up to the development of weapons capable of acting as a deterrent to the perceived Israeli threat?

2. The results of the June 2009 presidential election were released before the majority of votes had been counted and gave you an uncanny identical margin of victory across all Iranian provinces, even those in the other candidates’ home constituencies. Among other irregularities, Mehdi Karroubi reportedly received fewer votes than the number of his campaign volunteers. Am I speaking to Iran’s legitimately-elected president?

3. You criticize U.S. support for repressive Arab dictatorships. Yet in the aftermath of your re-election, those peacefully protesting its outcome were arrested, imprisoned and in some instances, raped. Show trials of those loyal to the tenets of the Revolution were televised “confessing” their “crimes” of implicitly questioning the Supreme Leader’s judgment or being part of a Western-backed conspiracy. On what basis does Iran claim to hold itself to a higher standard?

4. The IRGC [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps] has near complete control of Iran’s telecommunication sector, is accorded a lead role in guiding foreign policy, and is at the helm of suppressing domestic protests and internal dissent. By all measures, its influence and authority in multiple spheres of Iranian society continues to expand. Has Iran transformed itself from an Islamic Republic into a police state?

5. Nearly five months after Iraq’s parliamentary elections, a new government has yet to be seated. Has Iran’s determination to see its preferred alliance emerge victorious circumvented the will of the Iraqi voter? Hasn’t your country’s interference in the natural give-and-take between parties led to this prolonged political vacuum and the resultant uptick in violence?

Ahmadinejad: As this debate proves, only through dialogue and direct talks will the United States and Iran be able to resolve our disputes, reduce the prospect of armed conflict and avert a regional catastrophe. What prevents the U.S. from agreeing to them?

Moderator: President Obama?

RANNIE AMIRI is an independent Middle East commentator. He may be reached at: rbamiri [at] yahoo [dot] com.




More articles by:

Rannie Amiri is an independent commentator on Middle East affairs.

Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
Victor Grossman
A Big Rally and a Bavarian Vote
James Bovard
Groped at the Airport: Congress Must End TSA’s Sexual Assaults on Women
Jeff Roby
Florida After Hurricane Michael: the Sad State of the Unheeded Planner
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Bradley Kaye
The Policy of Policing
Wim Laven
The Catholic Church Fails Sexual Abuse Victims
Kevin Cashman
One Year After Hurricane Maria: Employment in Puerto Rico is Down by 26,000
Dr. Hakim Young
Nonviolent Afghans Bring a Breath of Fresh Air
Karl Grossman
Irving Like vs. Big Nuke
Dan Corjescu
The New Politics of Climate Change
John Carter
The Plight of the Pyrenees: the Abandoned Guard Dogs of the West
Ted Rall
Brett Kavanaugh and the Politics of Emotion-Shaming
Graham Peebles
Sharing is Key to a New Economic and Democratic Order
Ed Rampell
The Advocates
Louis Proyect
The Education Business
David Yearsley
Shock-and-Awe Inside Oracle Arena