Why would Iran’s rulers be so pleased to welcome Kofi Annan? No doubt they are familiar with his record generally of finding ways to do business with dictators, as he did with Saddam and has just been doing with Assad. But on the Iranian front, there are details especially worth recalling. Here’s a photo of Annan shaking hands in 2000 with Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Iran’s client terrorist group Hezbollah, thanking him for maintaining peace in southern Lebanon. Here is Annan welcoming Iran’s foreign minister in 2006 to attend the inaugural session of the newly “reformed” UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where Annan opined that Iran was taking “very seriously” the offered incentives to back away from its nuclear program. (So much for that).
And here is one more incident from Annan’s final year as secretary general in 2006, shortly after the UN Security Council had passed a resolution putting Tehran on notice that unless Iran stopped enriching uranium, UN sanctions would follow. Iran replied not with compliance, but with threats. Right around that time, Annan visited Tehran. Soon afterward, during the UN General Assembly opening in New York, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — then visiting New York — told reporters at a press conference that Annan had told him to ignore the Security Council resolution: “The secretary general told me to disregard what has happened for the time being, resort to diplomacy.” A spokesman for Annan denied this, saying Annan “did not tell Iran to disregard” the Security Council resolution.
Who was telling the truth, Ahmadinejad or Annan? Tough call. But here we are, six years later. Syria’s dictator is striving to keep his bloody grip on power. Hezbollah, having already provoked a war with Israel in 2006, sits atop a vastly enhanced arsenal in Lebanon. Iran’s regime, demonstrably linked to al-Qaeda (among its kennel of terror mascots), is closing in on nuclear weapons. And here comes UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan, jetting once again to Tehran to broker … what do we call it these days? Peace?