No cordial welcome awaits Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his upcoming visit to New York to attend a UN General Assembly. A massive billboard has appeared in Times Square implying Iran has allegiances with Al-Qaeda.
The billboard was put up by “United against Nuclear Iran”, a group that is seeking to halt the country’s nuclear program. It reads, “As we remember 9/11, ten years later Al-Qaeda’s silent partner is coming to New York.”
The group is also calling on New York hotels to refuse accommodation to Ahmadinejad and his delegation during their stay in the city later this month.
Ivan Eland of the Independent Institute think-tank told RT that such actions may be more likely to provoke Iran further on the road to making nuclear weapons.
“The billboard demonizes Iran,” he said. ”The problem with demonization as we have seen in the case of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi is that the United States then seems to take out those leaders after a while.”
“Iran sees that Iraq and Libya, who gave up their nuclear weapons programs, got invaded or attacked,” he added. “This makes Iran want to have weapons more.”
Eland says that Iran has legitimate security fears which should be taken into account.
“You have to do everything you can not to demonize them because that in turn creates pressures for attacking them later on,” he said. “By 2013 we could hear the drumbeat for attacking Iran, which of course I think would be disastrous.”
Eland also pointed out that the Iranian leadership is not an Al-Qaeda ally.
“If you remember, after 9/11 Iran helped the United States apprehend some Al-Qaeda people and provided intelligence on them,” he said. “Iranian government is Shiah, and Al-Qaeda is hostile to Shiah.”