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.

    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

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora