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. bimbopopoola

    ahmadinejad is not the only idiot in this drama, the remaining delegates that remained seated listening to his mad ravings are equally senseless.

    September 23, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mojo

    Guess what!? I don't care what he said, and I don't care what the Americans, Israelis and Europeans think of his speech, and I don't give a damn about the middle east. You guys go sort it out yourselves. I do care if I can keep my job and pay my bills.

    September 23, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • caw

      And yet with a global economy, ALL that happens affects you ability to keep your job.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Clearly you don't care, which is most likely why you read the article.

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

    Terra,

    You make a good point. Perhaps more people should look at President Ahmadinejad's U.N. speeches they way some people in the U.S. look at prayers before football games: Just because you are opposed to the "warm-up", you don't walk out of the main event.

    September 23, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • kaneda

      Prayer before a football game???

      September 23, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. Rodney

    Can't we all just get along?

    September 23, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • caw

      Now that was amusing. Get along/ I'm still laughing.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. Andrew

    Mister A-mean-jihad stands up and runs off at the potty mouth as if he was God himself. His vicious anger screamed at the US and almost all other countries on the planet, means nothing. He's an idiot; a moron. He's a lunatic muslim politician with nothing but vile to spew. He never does anything good for humanity or for Iran. He always comes to the UN and yells lies and old complaints and make -believe lunacy.
    The most posion of the lyingest snake on earth: The President of Iran.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  6. tm1946

    We believe in freedom and human rights, at least I hope we still do. But many other countries have a different way and we shoulod recognize it and deal with them accordingly to their standard.

    I suggest we consider just how the UN fits into our place in the world. For decades, we have funded an organization who seem very fond of those who hate us. I think we should pay our fair share and nothing extra. Times are tough all over and the free ride the UN has enjoyed should take its turn at the hog trough.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dan

    all conspiracy theorists have one thing in common. THEY CANT PROVE 1 THING ON ALL OF THEIR CLAIMS. THATS A REALISTIC FACT!!!! funny thing is all of the conspiracy theories on 9/11 have all been debunked by the actual facts from the 9/11 report.. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA as usual stupidity will ALWAYS be debased..

    September 23, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. Huh?

    well he was right about the decline of the US empire

    September 23, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • caw

      That was predicted many many years ago when it was stated that a Democracy can only be effective until the leaders learn the can bribe the populace with their own money.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • PACA

      I agree

      September 23, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      There is no demise of any empire. the whole world is in a recession. Wake up, didn't have your morning coffee yet?

      September 23, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • noway

      The Decline is the fault of the people mostly. It happened on your couch watch. lol

      September 23, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. Curtis

    Regardless I believe it extremely tacky that the U.S. walked out. Totally childish and no wonder why countries hate us for thinking we're better or above others.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      Thye should have all walked out. This man's voice does not deserve one ounce of time or respect. If the darkest enemy of your household was spewing rhetoric about your house would you sit there and listen?

      September 23, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew Nutra

      I could see this guy at home before going to the US to address the UN trying to come up with the speech. Hmm, let's not talk about our nuclear weapons program, or that we beat our dissidents senseless, and how we're paranoid that after Syria we'll have no more influence in the region and that Turkey is taking the lead in Mid-East affairs. As an Iranian, let's not talk about anything Iranian, rather let's represent the face of Iran by doing something ghetto and trashing our host with old "news" that's been said before. That will distract everyone from our real problems.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      Did You listen to the speech Curtis? I listened to some of it and I had to turn off the tv. In effect, I walked away. If Ahmadinejad truly believed what he was saying then he has some bigger screws loose than our do – nothing politicians.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Idol

      He shouldn't even be able to come to NY and give any speech during the UN forum, ever again, until he starts to respect the world. I feel so sorry for "normal" Iranians to hear this crazy speech from their president

      September 23, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. steelerguin

    You gotta love this guy! Always good for a laugh when he comes to NY. He should formally hit the comedy club circuit.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Tommy Knocker

      I believe he appeared with Jeff Dunham.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. Really!!

    This only goes to show that the UN is pointless and useless letting so called leaders waist everyones time and dime on ugly nonproductive rants like this every year.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Idol

      Agreed

      September 23, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  12. Neutralism

    they walk out of his speech but they accept his presidency & cabinet after all the killing s in Iran and the controversial election??!!
    the number of innocent political prisoners in Iran is the highest in the world as of today.

    Either be brave and say this guy is not the iranian president or when you accept it, dont be rude and walk out....

    September 23, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      Better to walk out rude than to go to war.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. David M

    He brings nothing but drivel to the table. It's bad enough he is even allowed in this country, but to give him a platform to spew his venom is disgusting. When he has something of substance to say, other than to trash the US, then maybe we will listen. Until then, I resent the fact that he is allowed to lecture my country and my president. I don't always agree with my president, but Prez Imadimlightbulb has no right to come here and spread his venom. He's a joke who thinks he's a player on the world stage. In reality, he's a chump that needs to be taken out.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ken

    All you conspiracy theorists are the same as this man. By promoting the assumption of a conspiracy you are creating a sort of dumbfounded coalition of conspiracy theorism and it is spreading. All other countries probably have analysts reading CNN posts daily and by denouncing your own gov't you are supporting such men as this man. Not good at allo.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. bert

    100 million dollars to anyone who can tell the real story of september 11!! hahaha........... thats another way to know there is no conspiracy.........money would have already revealed it.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
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