News / Middle East

Ahmadinejad Speech Triggers Western Walkout

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, September  22, 2011.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, September 22, 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +

Diplomats from the United States and Europe walked out of the U.N. General Assembly Thursday amid a strident address by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian leader blamed Western powers for world problems, and questioned the Holocaust and circumstances of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

On the eve of the Iranian president’s speech, Iran released two American hikers imprisoned for two years in a move welcomed by the White House.  But any goodwill generated by the gesture may have been swept away by the Ahmadinejad policy speech.

In it, he blamed Western powers for a catalogue of world ills including slavery, the two world wars, drug trafficking and the imposition of authoritarian regimes in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Ahmadinejad’s U.N. speech, his fifth since assuming power in 2005, was probably his most controversial and triggered what has become an annual walkout by Western delegates including the mid-level U.S. diplomats present when the speech began.

He made no mention of current policy issues such as Iran’s controversial nuclear program, instead attacking what he termed arrogant Western powers. He is heard through an interpreter.

“They tolerate no questions or criticism and instead of presenting a reason for their violations, they always put themselves in the position of a claimant," he said. "By using their imperialistic media network, which is under the influence of colonialism, they threaten anyone who questions the Holocaust and September 11th with sanctions and military action.”

The Iranian president, who at the U.N. last year called for an investigation of so-called “hidden elements” of the 2001 attacks, suggested Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. forces last May to foreclose an inquiry.

“Instead of assigning a fact-finding team, they killed the main perpetrator and threw his body into the sea," he said. "Would it not have been reasonable to bring to justice and try openly the main perpetrator of the incidents in order to identify the elements and reason behind the safe-space provided for the invading aircraft to attack the twin world trade towers?
The Iranian president, who did not mention Israel by name, said Western leaders treat Zionism as a sacred notion, and said any question about the Jewish state’s founding and history is seen as an unforgivable offense.

Reacting to the speech, the spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the U.N. said Ahmadinejad had a chance to address his own people's aspirations for freedom and dignity, but instead again turned to abhorrent anti-Semitic slurs and despicable conspiracy theories.

In a New York Times interview Thursday, Ahmadinejad again denied his country has nuclear weapons ambitions, and said it would halt uranium enrichment if world powers provided the 20-percent enriched uranium he said Iran needs for domestic power production.

The European Union said Wednesday it was prepared to resume without pre-conditions the nuclear talks with Iran that broke down in January. The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has failed to provide sufficient evidence that its program is entirely peaceful.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid