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:

2010

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."

2009

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

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.

2007

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.

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.

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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Filed under: Iran • United Nations
soundoff (670 Responses)
  1. viranka

    00ps–just

    September 23, 2011 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  2. mmgth

    Why is CNN allowing this abhorent, anti semitic "discussion" to be posted?

    September 23, 2011 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. Haze

    Everybody walked out because they couldn't bear to hear the truth. Simple as that.

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

      Brilliant!!!! Remember...everyone STAYED for Colin Powell's lies about wmd in IRAQ. The truth is hard to hear...especially from the man you've trumped up as crazy. Wake up America...you have already been taken over by outside forces and they are not only in your government...they are in your mind. New 911 investigation now...and prosececute the perps.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. Craig

    Guess what, you little stick up your rear end US diplomats thinking you really are showing him something by walking out, are behaving just as I would expect some disappointed junior high school student to act. You don't like what he says so you boo hoo hoo your way out of the speech. What a joke – as though Obama didn't say things equally laughable repeatedly. Tell you what, the ugliness that Obama showed to the Palestinians yesterday was 100 times worse than anything he said today. Get your facts straight – while you preside over the greatest loss of US influence this country has ever seen. Bush began the process and Obusha is carrying on in fine form.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  5. RL Abilene

    One perfect example of many reasons why the US needs to leave the UN. UN = United Nations – can anyone say "oxymoron".

    September 23, 2011 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. Calvin

    Years back, people will always defend a right they themselves do not fully comprehend. It will then, it will now and it will in future... until something terrible that makes us all vulnerable as human beings despite all the technology we have. This new game changer is global warming. It doesn't sees border and it will wipe out a country in just a few minutes. The world will be forced on the coercion that either we stay united as one or everybody suffers the consequences.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. Christella

    what a hoot... he's all the sudden an expert. when has he had to deal with the issues of a country containing 300 million ever? or the world coming asking for help? or taking ?

    September 23, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. s kel

    F him again.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
  9. Teelan

    I don't want to sound unpatriotic here, but the things that he is saying aren't all that outlandish. And I know that the U.S doesn't want to hear what he has to say, but to walk out on him? Not once but for 3 years in a row? What are we, twelve year olds who don't wanna hear it so we storm off? Thats not the America i was raised in.

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

      Well said....my thoughts precisely!

      September 23, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bullfish

    Remember...everyone STAYED for Colin Powell's lies about wmd in IRAQ. The truth is hard to hear...especially from the man you've trumped up as crazy. Wake up America...you have already been taken over by outside forces and they are not only in your government...they are in your mind. New 911 investigation now...and prosececute the perps.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. george

    The UN is a place to talk...and listen. It is to discuss opposing views and it seems childish to walk out.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
    • hawaiiduude

      agreed.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
    • gessoart

      If I state that you are a child molester and that you are planning to destroy the world, where does our civil discussions start? There are just some extremes that go beyond the normal bounds of constructive dialogue.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ok..

    If anyone ask him about the problems in his own country, I'm sure he'll deny every word of it. And every nation in the world have secrets, bloodshed, etc not just the US or did most people forget to read their history book since the start of elementary school?

    September 23, 2011 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Wassim

      Quit it with the mummbo jumbo pale. Iran has not invaded another country in almost 300 years! Even with the Iraq and Iran war, Iran was invaded by Iraq. American government could use Iran as a role model, Takes the bigger country to not go corrupt with power. For mrs Susan rice, I hope and pray for her to actually listen to some of his speeches, maybe she wont lead to such deaf ears, no pun intended.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  13. Nathan

    Although this man is an extremist, the point he made about our government's involvement in 9/11 is true. Even the slightest amount of research on the topic, outside of what you read and hear on the news, will expose you to the many unexplained issues from that day. After some research it would be ignorant for me or anyone else who has done the research to pretend like someone from our government didn't have a role in the attacks. Its just to obvious, and there are too many facts.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
    • pauline

      There is absolutely NO evidence to support what your "conspiracy" theory. If there is, speak it. Don't tell us about it...show it to us.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Nathan

      Are you kidding me? I'm a not a big conspiracy theorist. I thought the idea of our government being involved was stupid, until I was exposed to the most basic points from the events. Including: There is no wreckage from the plane crash in Pennsylvania, no bodies, no parts, nothing. The crash site is WAY to small for it to be a commercial airliner. There is no way the hole in the pentagon was from a commercial airliner either. To this day there are still no parts from an aircraft found at the pentagon. The hole in the building is only 60 someodd feet wide. A commercial airliner is 120+ and there was no damage to the upper floor until it collapsed due to the damage from the floors below. The plane claimed to have crashed into the pentagon was much taller than the hole in the building. There is also no crater from the plane hitting the ground first, so we cannot use that as an excuse. Also, on every picture and video of the planes hitting the tower you'll notice a small attachment to the bottom of the planes that are typically only seen on military aircraft. They are clear as day once you slow the videos down or zoom in on the picture. Right before the plane hit you'll also notice a flash that occurs on both buildings that would be typical with some sort of missile. Its nothing that been doctored in either. You can slow down any video from that day and notice it. At full speed you cannot, but slowed down there is no denying it. Also, shortly before the towers feel there is video of people fleeing the building claiming they heard more explosions in the basement. If you watch the building fall in slow motion you'll notice perfectly timed explosions occuring on the lower floors as the building is falling as though bombs were actually purposely placed to make sure the buildings fell. The proof is out there. Just don't settle for the idea that there is nothing without looking for the evidence. ALSO, there is NO way that tower 7 just falls demolition style because of debris from the twin towers. I could understand a section of the building falling, but the entire building fell straight down without any visible damage from the majority of angles. None of it adds up. I've ignored most conspiracies because many of them are ridiculous. But this one is just too obvious. We've all be brainwashed. Be a critical thinker and do some research before you bash someone who has taken the time. Regardless of who's at fault, thousands of innocent people died that day and that's really the upsetting part.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Sailor Jerry

      Ok Nathan let's slam you into a wall at 500mph and see I we can find any parts of you. Your so ignorant it's hilarious. And the "explosions" on the floors below is the pressure blowing outthe windows while the insides blow outward. It wasn't rigged to blow and jet fuel burns hot enough to melt steel. You might as well scythe world is flat. Stand outside and see what u want bud but it's round and a plane can bring down a building and u won't find any debri from a sheet metal plane. U act like planes are cars from the 50's. They aren't tanks. They need to be light so they can FLY!! Omg what a thought. And they found wreckage in PA. Idk where you live but if u came out of your hole and said this crap in real life to a person they would laugh at you an if you said it to someone who lost someone in the 9/11 attacks you might get hit. Wise up fool

      September 23, 2011 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
    • MJA

      Interesting how you conspiracy theory deniers always ignore Building 7, as if it never existed.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Andy

    Hey CNN,
    Perhaps you should write a piece on the majority response to this article.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mohammad Farooqui

    US and allies doing same what they claim Iranian are doing. Despite all differences Iranian President must be listen. This unethical.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
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