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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soundoff (670 Responses)
  1. Tim Holden

    The Holocaust illustrates the consequences of prejudice, racism and stereotyping on a society. It forces us to examine the responsibilities of citizenship and confront the powerful ramifications of indifference and inaction.
    Tim Holden

    September 23, 2011 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. Linda Chavez

    The United Nations was founded in the aftermath of World War II, just as the world was beginning to learn the full horrors of history's worst genocide, the Holocaust that consumed 6 million Jews and 3 million others in Europe.
    Linda Chavez

    September 23, 2011 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. Gandhian

    No sensible person likes or agrees with the extremist views of Ahmedinijad some of which are, no doubt totally wrong and disliked by majority of the people. But boycott of any members' speech at such an august body of international community like UNO also depicts an extremist and non-tollerant response in the eyes of the majority of the people watching the same, all over the world? We can not address extremism by extremism and non-tolerance through non-tolerance. The majority of the people already suffering too much because of the politics of non-tolerance and hostility and been longing for a politics of mutual dialogues, understanding, mutual respect for the greater peace and harmony within the human community, This could only by possible through mutual dialogues and not through boycotts? Such boycots of any representative of even the smallest Nation negates the very founding spirit and manifesto of UNO as an august forum of mutual reconciliation, unity and peace through dialogue and through listening the view points of participating members. Even after the worst Wars through out the human history, in the end the matter is resolved only through dialogues and not through boycotts? By promoting the culture of boycotts and non-tolerance even in such an august and the only one Center of the International Community, what message is sent to the wathching people of the globe and what tradition and role model is being set for the young and comming generations? What role model we should set for the greater peace of our family, generations and the humanity, at large?

    September 23, 2011 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  4. brian

    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 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. Christella

    picking leaders is like Russian roulette. Literally.

    September 23, 2011 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. Big ol' Jet Airliner

    ...and on not one, but two jet airliners and on the same day. Need a slide-rule to calculate the odds on that one. Wait! Got my old Ti slide-rule calculator. The odds of two jet airliners crashing on the same day and melting every single one of both jets multiple black-boxes amd flight recorders on the same day at near the same time is 1 in 3,532,295,254,614,658,463,125,238,695.6389512... and without melting passports? (scratching head)

    September 23, 2011 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
  7. @Rhonda

    Deep. But not as deep as the god of Israel not protecting his little helpers from the god of Germany who is also the god of America. But you would need to be among the 80% of US that believe in god to understand that one. 😉

    September 23, 2011 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. Oscar Schindler

    Everyone was well aware of the death camps. Cathilic Germans hated Jews long before Hitler came into power. Talk anout harboring hatred.

    September 23, 2011 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joesense

    This year was different, He directly looked at Susan and said, "Silence! I kill you"..

    September 23, 2011 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
    • GODis

      This was the first thing that popped up when I opened this page, and I fell off the couch laughing. Thanks, Joe

      September 23, 2011 at 5:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. "Vengeance is mine, and mine alone sayeth the Lord"

    @Jesus...Semper Fi.

    September 23, 2011 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
    • ilan

      its god job to take Vengeance
      its our job to bring them befor him

      September 23, 2011 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. "Vengeance is mine, and mine alone sayeth the Lord"

    No wonder revenge for 9/11 is a good thing.

    September 23, 2011 at 3:09 am | Report abuse |
  12. john Harley

    he United States killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden instead of investigating "hidden elements involved in September 11."
    ---------------–
    Valid question!!

    They should have captured him and then questioned him about the hidden elements that were involved in the 9/11!
    What caused it? What lead to it?? How does the Alqeda work??
    This would help them in dismantling terrorism around the world!!

    September 23, 2011 at 3:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      I agree with that... Why the hurry to get rid of bin Laden instead of take him to justice...

      September 23, 2011 at 4:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. "Vengeance is mine, and mine alone sayeth the Lord"

    @Jesus Christ...shalom.

    September 23, 2011 at 3:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. gung hoe

    Can someone please kill this idiot

    September 23, 2011 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. Alan

    He's got the balls to say what now one dares to say... I admire the man.. No matter how many walk outs he sees...The man won't stop. Does't mean that I agree with what he says...but there some questions he brings..that are still unanswered. It's funny that America is making a campaign against bullying in schools...and these walkout represent a sort of diplomatic bullying Hypocrites.

    September 23, 2011 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Crawmama

      You are a fool. "Diplomatic bullying?" You've got to be kidding.

      September 23, 2011 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
    • TS

      maybe you should hike near the iranian border and find out what those unanswered questions are you idiot. this murderer and toturer shouldn't be allowed on our soil that has been direpected around the muslim community for ever. when the first nuke from iran comes in it should be pointed at your house

      September 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
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