Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has blamed the United States, Israel and U.N. Security Council members for many of the world's woes, prompting a number of delegates to walk out of the United Nations conference on racism in Geneva, where Mr. Ahmadinejad spoke.It was as many had predicted and what had prompted a number of countries to boycott this meeting in the first place. The Iranian leader used the platform of the international forum in Geneva to denounce the United States and Israel, as he has often done in the past.
Mr. Ahmadinejad first spoke about the evils of slavery and how Europe and America had enslaved so many Africans.
He quickly moved on to World War II and claimed its victors used force to drive Palestinians out of their homeland to make way for Israel.
"And, they sent migrants from Europe and the United States and from other parts of the world in order to establish a totally racist government in occupied Palestine," Mr. Ahmadinejad said.
That prompted dozens of delegates to walk out of the session. Amid jeers, heckling and some applause, the Iranian leader smiled and continued.
"What are the root causes of U.S. attacks against Iraq or the invasion of Afghanistan?" he asked.
Mr. Ahmadinejad said it was all to support big arms manufacturers, protect Israel and gain access to Iraq's oil.
The Iranian leader also lambasted the current make-up of the U.N. Security Council for dictating to the rest of the world. He blamed the United States for being behind the global economic crisis.
Britain's ambassador, who walked out during the speech, condemned Mr. Ahmadinejad's comments on Israel as "offensive and inflammatory." And, the spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the Iranian leader's comments were "completely inappropriate."
Concerns about Mr. Ahmadinejad's speech and fears the conference would be used as a platform by some Muslim countries to denounce Israel and push for a global ban on criticizing Islam led the United States and other major powers to boycott the meeting.
The Geneva meeting is a follow-up to the first such conference in Durban, South Africa eight years ago. But that event generated such controversy over vehement denunciations of Israel and the United States that it widely discredited the U.N. effort to combat racism and discrimination.