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Ahmadinejad hoisted on his own petard

Pool/Getty Images Shimon Peres, Israel’s president and former … everything, denounced Columbia University this morning for hosting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday: I think that Columbia University made a mistake … With Hitler there was a dialogue. (British Prime Minister Neville) Chamberlain went to talk to him. What did it help? It helped cover the fact that ...

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Pool/Getty Images

Shimon Peres, Israel’s president and former … everything, denounced Columbia University this morning for hosting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday:

I think that Columbia University made a mistake … With Hitler there was a dialogue. (British Prime Minister Neville) Chamberlain went to talk to him. What did it help? It helped cover the fact that Hitler prepared concentration camps and death camps.”

Sure, Ahmadinejad may be strengthening his domestic position. But notice what happened today at the U.N.: French President Sarkozy called for “combining firmness with dialogue,” reiterating his position, “if we allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, we would incur an unacceptable risk to stability in the region ad the world.” And Germany’s Angela Merkel came out in support of a new round of sanctions “if [Iran’s] behavior doesn’t change.” She added, “Israel’s security isn’t negotiable,” and referred to Ahmadinejad’s history of comments on Israel as “inhumane”.

These statements may well have been worked out on Friday, when the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany met in Washington to discuss the sanctions issue. But it sure was easier for Germany to toughen its stance after yesterday’s farce at Columbia. Ahmadinejad had a chance to come across as a moderate, undercutting the unity of the EU3. Instead, he came across as a buffoon not ready for prime time. We’ll see if he acquits himself better here at the U.N. in a few minutes, but suffice it to say that Iran is back on its heels today.

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