Steve Hunegs

Steve Hunegs was named Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) in November of 2006. Hunegs has a long association with the JCRC. He served on the Board of Directors from 1993 to 2002 and served as Board President from 1998 to 2000. Read more about Steve Hunegs.

No Tribute to Tehran

Posted by: Steve Hunegs Updated: August 24, 2012 - 4:09 PM

A few days after the Kristallnacht on November 15, 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said of the pogrom and property destruction that he “could scarcely believe that such things could occur in a twentieth century civilization.”

You could apply a similar sense of incredulity and outrage of the decision of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to attend the summit of the Nonaligned Movement in Tehran next week.  Most observers are commenting that the Secretary General's demarche is providing a strong measure of international validation to Iran's defiance of international norms as the world's “leading” sponsor of international terrorism (a State Department designation) while pursuing the development of nuclear weapons.  This blundering is “scarcely believable.”

Some would say this course of action is perfectly consistent with an entity seemingly obsessed with heaping hatred upon Israel judging by the numbers of resolutions condemning it in relation to the full body of work of the General Assembly.  Nevertheless, the Secretary General strikes many as a competent administrator for a United Nations which is part of the “Quartet” responsible for monitoring Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.  Yet, precisely at the moment when an international regime of sanctions may be pressuring Iran, the Secretary General goes to Tehran and provides solace to the regime.

The Secretary General’s travels, temporally, comes after another eruption of genocidal incitement against Israel by Iranian leadership in August and in the past few months.

On August 17, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, “You want a new Middle East? We do too, but in the new Middle East ... there will be no trace of the American presence and the Zionists.”

On August 2, President Ahmadinejad said, “Anyone who loves freedom and justice must strive for the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the way for world justice and freedom.”

Such insinuations, if not explicit threats of the destruction of Israel, make the course of action of the Secretary General, “scarcely believable.”

Fortunately, from a sanctions perspective, the Obama Administration and Congress on a bi-partisan basis recognize the threat presented by Iran.  Congress recently overwhelmingly passed the Iran Threat Reduction Act.  The legislation will strengthen Iran sanctions laws to peacefully compel Iran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons and other threatening activities.

According to the text of the legislation, some of the provisions included in this Act are:

·         Expansion of sanctions with respect to the energy sector of Iran;

·         Expansion of sanctions with respect to development by Iran of weapons of mass destruction;

·         Imposition of sanctions with respect to transactions with persons sanctioned for certain activities relating to terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction;

·         Expansion of, and reports on, mandatory sanctions with respect to financial institutions that engage in certain activities relating to Iran; and

·         Expansion of Sanctions Relating to Human Rights Abuses in Iran.


The aim of such legislation, in concert with international sanctions, is to peacefully thwart Iran’s nuclear weapons ambition for a nation which threatens to destroy another nation and poses a serious threat to the entire Middle East, if not the world.

The Congressional delegations of Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota voted unanimously in favor of the Act--supporting the legislation were Tim Walz, John Kline, Erik Paulsen, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Michele Bachmann, Collin Peterson, Chip Cravaack, Rick Berg, and Kristi Noem.  The corresponding bill in the Senate was passed without objection by a voice vote with Senators Klobuchar and Franken supporting it.


The actions of the Obama Administration and Congress dovetails, also, with the will of the people of the upper Midwest, whose legislatures in Minnesota and South Dakota have divested their respective state pension fund holdings from international companies doing business with Iran's energy sector--the segment of the Iranian economy responsible for financing the regime's development of weapons of mass destruction.

At this juncture, in light of the blundering and “scarce believability” of the Secretary General’s actions, we can only hope that he will use his international platform in Tehran to warn the regime of the extreme danger which its rhetoric and actions present to the world.

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