Walkouts and fury: A look at Ahmadinejad's U.N. speeches
Delegations of several nations left during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's U.N. speech Thursday.
September 22nd, 2011
10:27 PM ET

Walkouts and fury: A look at Ahmadinejad's U.N. speeches

Whether he is predicting the demise of the U.S. "empire," questioning U.S. accounts of the 9/11 attacks or accusing Europe of using the Holocaust as an excuse for supporting Israel, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad knows how to push the West's buttons at the U.N. General Assembly.

For the third straight year, U.S. diplomats on Thursday joined envoys from several other nations in walking out during the Iranian president's address at the annual United Nations gathering in New York. That doesn't even count instances before that, when American diplomats conspicuously skipped his speech altogether.

This year, Ahmadinejad said European countries "still use the Holocaust after six decades as the excuse to pay (a) fine or ransom to the Zionists," and that the United States killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden instead of investigating "hidden elements involved in September 11."

Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, wasn't impressed.

"We find what Ahmadinejad does and says when he comes to the United Nations absolutely odious, hateful, anti-Semitic, unacceptable, which is why the United States for three consecutive years - including today - have led a walkout of his speech," Rice told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Thursday. "Inevitably he says something outrageous, dishonest and offensive, and that leads to a walkout."

Here is a look back at Ahmadinejad's other U.N. speeches, and reactions to them:


Representatives from the United States, Britain, Spain and other nations walked out while Ahmadinejad asserted that the U.S. government either participated in the 9/11 attacks or let them happen as an excuse to wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said most Americans and "most nations around the world" believe that "some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack," adding that these people believe the attacks were aimed at reversing "the declining American economy and its scripts on the Middle East in order to save the Zionist regime."

He also said capitalism and the current world order had reached their demise after 100 years of domination, saying that they were "unable to provide appropriate solutions to the problems that society faces."


In September 2009, Ahmadinejad was critical of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he said "thousands of innocent people have been killed, injured or displaced, infrastructures have been destroyed and regional security has been seriously jeopardized."

He ripped capitalism, saying it brought about the conditions leading to the world's economic crisis. He also called for a "return to monotheism and justice," calling it "the greatest hope and opportunity in all ages and generations."

He blasted Israel, accusing it of "crimes ... against defenseless women and children and destruction of their homes, farms, hospitals and schools."

The next day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the Iranian leader at the General Assembly. The delegations that stayed for Ahmadinejad's address gave "legitimacy to a man who denies the murder of 6 million Jews," Netanyahu said, referring to the Holocaust.

Ahmadinejad at the General Assembly in 2008


Ahmadinejad told the General Assembly in 2008 that the "American empire" was nearing its end, and that Israel "is on a definite slope to collapse."

While he stopped short of calling for Israel to be politically wiped off the map as he had previously, he called for "a free referendum in Palestine for determining and establishing the type of state in the entire Palestinian lands."

The U.N. Security Council, he said, "cannot do anything, and sometimes under pressure from a few bullying powers, even paves the way for supporting these Zionist murders."

He blamed a few world powers for the world's problems, and defended his country's nuclear activities as peaceful. The U.S. and other Western nations had long suspected that Iran had been pursuing nuclear weapons, but Iran said it seeks only a civilian nuclear energy program.

He accused the United States of oppressing Iraqis with six years of occupation, saying Americans were "still seeking to solidify their position in the political geography of the region and to dominate oil resources."

The only person at the United States' table was a note-taker; no U.S. diplomat was present.

U.S. seats were empty during the 2007 speech.


In a 2007 speech that blasted "selfish and incompetent" governments that have "obedience to Satan," Ahmadinejad said the U.N. Security Council "ranks first" among ineffective international bodies because it is influenced by "monopolistic powers."

Ahmadinejad invited "all independent, justice-seeking and peace-loving nations" to join Iran in a "coalition for peace." He also criticized unnamed "powers" that he said were responsible for insecurity, division and moral decline across the world.

"Is it not high time for these powers to return from the path of arrogance and obedience to Satan to the path of faith in God?" he said.

He criticized the United States without naming it, offering blunt assessments of the Iraq war and Washington's war on terrorism.

"Setting up secret prisons, abducting (people), trials and secret punishments without any regard to due process, extensive tappings of telephone conversations, intercepting private mail and frequent summons to police and security centers have become commonplace and prevalent."

The American delegation's chairs were unoccupied, except for one woman taking notes.

Earlier, he had asked to lay a wreath at the site of the destroyed World Trade Center towers, but New York City officials denied the request, citing safety concerns at what was then a construction site.

Ahmadinejad speaks in 2006.


Ahmadinejad said in 2006 that the United States' permanent inclusion on the U.N. Security Council undermines its effectiveness and credibility.

He also criticized "unwarranted support" for Israel during conflicts in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon.

On Iraq, Ahmadinejad said the United States, whom he called "the occupiers," is "incapable of establishing security," and scores were dying daily as a result.

"Where can the people of Iraq seek refuge, and from whom can the people of Iraq seek justice?" he asked. How can the Security Council act "when the occupiers themselves are permanent members of the council?"

The Iranian president speaks to the General Assembly in September 2005.


Ahmadinejad in 2005 told the General Assembly that Iran had a right to operate a nuclear energy program. He said it was unfair that some nations were allowed to make nuclear fuel while others are condemned for it.

"Today, the most serious challenges is that the culprits are assuming the role of prosecutor," he said, accusing the United States of "bullying the others while through huge media resources portraying themselves as defenders of freedom."

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soundoff (670 Responses)
  1. s kel

    F him

    September 23, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. Darwin

    Don't forget all the Germans who were killed because they were related to Jews, or had close friends who were Jews, or just didn't look quite Arian enough. I don’t know the exact number or percentage, but it did happen. That’s the reason my German ancestors came to the United States.
    As for this story, I heavily agree with anyone who says the US keeps a lot from (and even flat out lies to) its people. The US loves to demonize everyone else, but they’ll never own up to their mistakes. I love this country, but I also sympathize with those who don’t. Most Americans are just plain ignorant and disrespectful towards other cultures and their beliefs. I mean walking out on someone’s speech, (or not showing up at all) how disrespectful it that?

    September 23, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      Yes! we need to understand that. we (as a nation) question EVERYONE but refuse to answer a single question ourselves

      September 23, 2011 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. dexter

    Keep Ahmadinejad in the U.N.!!!!!
    Get rid of Iran and BOOM there goes the U.N.'s viewer ratings.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. bigwilliestyles

    Funny thing is that the things he has said over the years are some of the same things that are being said today by people living here in the US when it suits their own purposes. Who hasn't heard the tea party wail about the 'imminent demise' of the U S if the tea party agenda is not implemented? The World Trade Center, war mongering in Iraq for oil and profit, the right to nuclear power, the control of the U N by the U S; most of this stuff is being discussed today by people here. Still no reason for people who call themselves diplomats to act like children. The kicker is that they leave someone to record what he said; if you don't want to know what was said, why record it? If you need to know what was said, why leave?

    September 23, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bernie

    As an American I agree that our gov't has done some horrible horrible things that messed the world up. There's no reason why some of the people out there should hate us. This is the truth that many americans refuse to even hear. they just stick their fingers in their ears and go "la la la la la i don't hear you la la la!"

    September 23, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
    • rdbeard

      Please explain how all Iranian votes were hand counted in a few hours in their last election. The fastest moving thing on earth is an Iranian vote counter. Their hands move so fast they break the sound barrier.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  6. NonZionist

    It's easy to see who believes in dialogue and who believes in Might Makes Right.

    +( There are none so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. )+ - Goethe

    Truth is the first casualty of war, and the U.S. and Israel have been making war for sixty years. Our rulers do not have truth on their side, so what else can they do but walk out with their tails between their legs.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Christella

      you really think that they have it so together and everything in their hands that you believe that they are really the rulers of the world? they're no less at the mercy of the cosmos or consequences of their activities than you, me or anyone else. they're humans hired to perform at enormous levels that most of us are never expected to and we still expect perfection and to make everybody happy? ain't gonna happen. unless you're watching sesame street and bert and ernie get married. sure.

      September 23, 2011 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. Chris

    What I dont get is...why did we take down saddam? This ahmadinejad talks SO much trash and is extremely close if not ready to back it up with WMDs....If we should have took down any country it should be Iran.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. Barbara

    Really, he is one of the last honest leaders in the world. The comment listed here by CNN as said during this 2011 talk all make a lot of common sense which most do not want to understand. instead of investigating "hidden elements involved in September 11." This is a goo point and in addition – What really happened to building 7, and why was it never included in the 911 investigation.This year, Ahmadinejad said European countries "still use the Holocaust after six decades as the excuse to pay (a) fine or ransom to the Zionists," and so they do, in addition to this topic – why is the global community content to see Zionist Israel destroy a People and steal their land. "and that the United States killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden" this is only USA interpretation. Why was there such a quick burial and at sea?
    And as far as Susan Rice's comments about Ahmadinajad -please, give all of us a break, the anti-semite card is long over used – do you realize the Arabs are also historically Sematic people? And how can she even accuse anyone of being hateful and unacceptable. Wasn't she, as USA representative in the UN, the one who vetoed UN resolution to demand Zionist Israel end their occupation and ongoing land stealing?

    September 23, 2011 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Aww....a Palestinian supporting truther. Take note people, this pathetic breed of human wants insane madmen to have nuclear weapons, wants to give international rights to terrorists and finds it politically correct to hate Jews, but will bash anyone who has a problem with Islam.

      These types fail to see any hypocrisy in their narrow minded little lives.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
    • rico

      as a palestinian and a muslim, i very much appreciate what u just said! finally someone understands the arab/muslims.. we also want to know the truth

      September 23, 2011 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Israel

      stop listen to yourselves. you all sound like a bunch of children. wa wa wa. we should all respect each other & try to live in peace! bottom line. not blame others for one's own actions. lets all bring peace & respect each others beleifs then maybe we can live an a harmoneous World called EARTH. THose that go against this should be ignored like a lost soul. In other words, put them in timeout. lol Peace & Joy to ALL.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Moronmor Gadfly

      Yes, the anti-semite card has been overplayed. Once a group of people have been bashed and hated long enough, people should be allowed to continue doing so without any reprisal. You're a moron. And one of the last honest leaders? The guy who has people killed for simply speaking out against him? Why do you trolls even bother. The only people agreeing with you are your troll buddies. Go to an Iranian news site and make some negative posts about the big A. At least we won't be boethered with your posts here anymore.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Are you freaking nuts??? Please watch the tapes of the airplanes hitting the WTC towers over and over again until you can think logically enough to realize that it was a TERRORIST ATTACK. Not some stupid conspiracy theory that everyone is just going along with so we can have more oil. The same can be said for his reasoning regarding the Holocaust. It HAPPENED. 6 million people were murdered by Nazi Germany because they felt that they had the ultimate answer to the world's problems. But doesn't that sound familiar...Ahmadinejad calls for a "return to Monotheism and justice." Sounds a lot like a hyper-nationalistic, Hitler like ruler to me. And the idea that he want to lay a wreathe at Ground Zero is a disrespectful attempt at a slap in the face to the victims, their families, and this Country after the hatred he has spewed.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Toprock

      Hey, Agent Mulder, enough with your nonsense. Go back to the Internet and keep reading the unsubstantiated babble you idiots always seems to conjure up.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Leon

      Perhaps your grandparents should have burned in buchenwald!!!
      Maybe then, you would think otherwise?

      September 23, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
    • brian

      Barbara, Barbara. The Palestinians are the real squaters in Israel. Just look at the history of Jerusalem. Thank god we have the patriot act for extremist sympathizers like your self. Know im sure you will say your not. But your comments dont lie. Let us all not forget that the thieving Muslims put a dom over the most holy of sites for the jewish people, even knowing that Mohamed assended elswhere. I think the fact the God says the jews are the chosen people; is what other religions are really disillusioned about. Besides for Christ to return there has to be peace in the holy land with the third temple rebuilt.
      And thats another thing did the Palestinians live there under king david, i think not. THE JEWS DID!! get your facts strait before you sound lame again on this subject. DEUTERONOMY 14:2, EXODUS 19:5, GENESIS 17:7 😀 learn fact not fiction.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. Craig

    Why dont the americans walk out of the UN and stay out?

    September 23, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
    • rdbeard

      If they did and stop financially supporting it, there would be no UN.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      We are the UN fool. We are it's muscle and we are it's power. Anyone who thinks otherwise is clueless.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
    • sskiper

      UN=US .. Hello?

      September 23, 2011 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. rdbeard

    The fastest thing on earth is the Iranian vote counters who hand counted over 40 million votes in a few hours. When Iranian vote counters flap their arms they fly to the moon. And you really wish us to believe you had a real presidential election in Iran. Be serious...

    September 23, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. rdbeard

    And you must be a N A Z I

    September 23, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. deny

    6 million more

    September 23, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. viranka

    he talks jut like a republican.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
  14. marvin

    frankly dont care for the israel and the rest of the middle east. one group aways blames the other its like watching kids argue he hit me no he hit me first. fighting been going on for centuries enough already either find peace or someone nuke all parties off the map

    September 23, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  15. corrina

    That Ahmadinejad is something else. He lied about the Holocaust not happening, and then turned around and lied about Slavery and the Lynching of black people happening. where does he get his facts from?

    September 23, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
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