UNITED NATIONS—In what is becoming an annual event, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad again slammed the West in a radical speech at the UN General Assembly, with diplomats from a number of Western nations leaving the meeting hall in apparent protest. Representatives from the US and Europe were among those who walked out in the mass exit as Ahmadinejad on Thursday implicitly criticized some Europeans for still using the Holocaust “as the excuse to pay fine or ransom to the Zionists,” which is his term for Israel.
The US Mission to the UN reacted strongly to the speech. Spokesman Mark Kornblau said in a press release that the Iranian official “had a chance to address his own people’s aspirations for freedom and dignity, but instead he again turned to abhorrent anti-Semitic slurs and despicable conspiracy theories.”
Ahmadinejad hinted at the Arab Spring events, expressing his belief that “the world is now witnessing more than ever the widespread awakening” occurring not just in the Middle East, but in Asia, Europe and America as well. The Iranian government, meanwhile, continues to repress protestors in their own country, following up on their brutal repression of the Green Movement in 2009 after the disputed election of Ahmadinejad.
British Prime Minister David Cameron during his own General Assembly speech used Iran as an example that just having elections is not enough, while commenting on Ahmadinejad’s selective recollection of Mideast events.
“He didn’t remind us that he runs a country where they may have elections, of a sort, but they also repress freedom of speech, they do everything they can to avoid the accountability of a free media,” said Cameron. “They ban and they prevent demonstrations, and yes they detain and torture those who argue for a better future.”
Interestingly, Ahmadinejad did not mention the Palestinian statehood matter at all in his speech. With the Palestinians planning to apply to the UN this week for full membership in the world body through the Security Council, world leaders had repeatedly mentioned the situation—if only in passing. Ahmadinejad did claim the West imposed the “Zionists” and terror against the Palestinians.
As he has done in the past, Ahmadinejad used his UN speech to express radical views on historical events, hinting that a conspiracy was behind the September 11 terror attacks.
Referring to Osama Bin Laden without mentioning the name, Ahmadinejad noted that the “main perpetrator” of the 9/11 attacks was killed by the US and then his body disposed of in the sea. Ahmadinejad suggested the reason Bin Laden was not put on trial is because it would expose the conspiracy behind the September 11 attacks.
A well-known denier of the Holocaust, Ahmadinejad said people who question 9/11 and the Holocaust are threatened by the West with “sanctions and military action.” Which specific military action threat he was referring to was not immediately apparent, although he vaguely claimed Iran was threatened last year when a fact-finding team concerning “the hidden elements” of 9/11 was brought up.
Ahmadinejad’s speech blamed the West for the global economic recession and many other world ills. His suggestion was to reform the UN, challenging the role of the West while re-approaching the world with “shared and collective management,” calling it the “legitimate right of all nations.”
An intense adherent to Shia Islam, Ahmadinejad again claimed that the Shia superhuman, the Mahdi, was coming to “lead the freedom and justice lovers to eradicate tyranny and discrimination.”
Ahmadinejad is infamous for repeatedly endorsing the removal of the State of Israel, referring to them as the Zionists. On Thursday, he implicitly criticized the West for viewing “Zionism as a sacred notion or ideology” and that “any question concerning its foundation and history is condemned by them as an unforgiveable sin.”
Iran is also under multiple international sanctions for their illicit nuclear program and are accused of having researched means for nuclear weapons.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, September 22, 2011)