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. 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 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bob

    I think this idiot should be shot or dropped from a plane without a parachute... If it wasn't for the US they would still be banging camel in the dark.. Not to mention he's GAY...

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

      Poor camels are not getting any because of the West's industrialism.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  3. bert

    just curios...... has nothing to do with iran or 911, but if obama came out and said we are going to invade an oil rich country to bring our gas prices below 1.00 a gallon..........would you support it? Or if he said," if we dont go to war then prices would be over 5.00 per gallon? what would you want?

    September 23, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. Steve

    That little weasel is bad for everyone. Someone in Iran should take that tiny POS out.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. oakhill3

    There were so many empty seats to begin with, did it really matter? Doesn't look like many bothered to attend to begin with.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. ru serious

    Demise of America? Fat chance! Wait and watch what happens to those "Arab Spring" countries...only a matter of time before they devolve into Somlia-like lawless tribal stone-age places. Unfortunately, we missed a huge opportuity after 9/11. On 9/12, a massive effort to get ourselves off their stinking oil should have begun. LOL, that in addition to bombing the living crp out of them whenever and wherever possible, which we DID accomplish quite nicely, thank you. Just one other thought, America haters. Do you honeslty think that China is going to step up to the plate everytime there is famine,flood,earthquake? Good luck with that.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. bert

    any american who believes in a 911 conspiracy is like a really rich kid who grows up privilegde but is disrepectful and mean to their parents........sit in your home, on your computer, with your unlimited search options and talk all the crap you want how where such a bad country..hahahha

    September 23, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mark L.

    Inviting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is like inviting Adolf Hitler or Osama bin Laden to address the U.N. General Assembly !! This piece of human feces has absolutely no business here in the U.S.A. !! My only TRUE hope and prayer is to turn on the news, one morning, and learn that either the C.I.A. or Israeli Mossad organization successfully assassinates this monster !!

    September 23, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • NonZionist

      You are hallucinating. Take an aspirin every hour till the fever goes down.

      I understand that you Zionists need war to deflect attention away from your own war crimes. So you feel compelled to invent Hitlers and find Hitlers everywhere. But why Ahmadinejad? What exactly has he done to you? Yes, he criticizes you, but why should that be a capital offense? Why does that drive you berserk?

      September 23, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • karma sutra

      But did you know Hitler was Jewish on his father's side.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • alokdhara

      There are two types of people in this world. One type: Says nice, euphemistic words in the media, and bombs civilians from sky at night. Another type: No physical damage to the people, but disgusts people only by foolish comments and rants. Ironically we abhor the second type more. They are not doing any physical harm but making enemy everywhere only due to stupid comments.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • DownWithHaters!

      Wow! NonZionist! You are truly a pathetic human being, and I question whether or not you are a human being after reading your responses. You are probably just plain pathetic. Go stick your head back in your @ss where it belongs!

      September 23, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcus

      The USA will be taking Iran on as an ally soon in the face of the Chinese rise and the Saudi rift. Soon we will have no real sponsors left in the region for oil other than Iran, our traditional ally before 1979.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • mullah dadulah

      america is a bandit country and nobody expects it to behave.170 out of 193 countries will recognize palestine and zionist thugs will not be able to step into these countries.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bristol Palin

      ...Mmmmmmmm... feces

      September 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • justageek

      @mullah dadulah – You do realize that the US is pushing for a palestinian state...right?

      September 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      The leader of Iran better be prepared for the pending zombie apocalypse....besides..he has already sealed his doom from within his own regime....

      September 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Belvis

      don't worry too much. He will be either assassinated or at least forced out of power in the near future.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stinkin latino

      You guys r so brain washed by the media n our government that you can hate a guy so much for criticizing the usa and the UN. Calling it like you see them shouldn't bring so much hate towards a guy to not give him the respect to listen to his address

      September 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Frangible

    I like the part where he insults us, then begs us for literally tons of free highly enriched uranium.

    GREAT ARGUMENT.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Oh – it is just a ploy. He doesn't need our uranium, but to make it look as if we are denying him progress will be his justification when he unveils the Iranian Nuclear Bomb.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      umm he never begged. he simply said stated that if the us wants to control the attempt by the Iranian government to provide electricity for it millions who sit in darkness or blackouts then i hate to say it this way... but hook a brotha up. Essentially he's saying "You dont want me to make it but i cant make energy without it ... so lets talk..... you give me the fuel on your terms and i can give my people the energy they need to live. If you think about it the US government could use this as a means by which to procure some crude oil at a nice exchange rate.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Jeff if Iran wanted a nuclear weapon they would have acquired one by now they definitely have the ties and the funds to do so. why risk occupation and destruction of their soil and people to produce this in open space when it could be acquired through black market channels

      September 23, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      I sure hope you are right. However, if I were working on a Nuclear bomb, I sure wouldn't advertise it to the world until all the pieces of my plan was in place. I wouldn't risk an invasion of my country I would do everything I could to hide my ace in the hole until I needed it. Could they have made it by now? Possibly. Could they still be working on the bomb and the plan? Sure. Is this an eventual goal? Undoubtedly. I sure hope you are right.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      BTW – the Iranian people are not sitting in the dark because they don't have nuclear power. They are stuck in the dark because they have no infrastructure. They are in one of the most OIL RICH areas of the world and they have Arab allies. They have access to fuel. They power lines they will need to string up to deliver nuclear power are the same lines they need for electric from oil and gas. Sure – we will eventually run out of oil and gas, but they don't require it right this minute.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. paul

    why would a world leader travel half way around the world and waste his time speaking nonsense about things that does not fit the agenta , why would he not speak things that would benifit the world progress?

    September 23, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • karma sutra

      You mean like going before the UN and shouting "USA has irrefutable evidence of IRAQ possessing WMDs " and if we don't
      do something, mushroom cloud above Washington DC will be forthcoming ?

      September 23, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • NonZionist

      Ahmadinejad is speaking truth, and that is what drives the Zionists into a frenzy. That is why they plumb the depths in their posts. That is why these gangsters call for assassination. They can't bear to hear the truth about their war-addicted ideology.

      If Ahmadinejad were speaking nonsense, no one would pay any attention.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • justageek

      @Paul – Radicals rarely are capable of thinking rationally and especially long term.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • justageek

      @nonzionist – "If Ahmadinejad were speaking nonsense, no one would pay any attention" – Thanks...that's the funniest thing I've read all day.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • brathead

      @NonZionist- You are a complete idiot who understands about half of what you say (the half that comes out of the Iran president's mouth) which is complete garbage. The other half you know nothing about. What does the Holocaust & 9/11 have to do with what is going on in the world today? Why even bring that up? He is a complete idiot, radical muslim just like all of the other idiot radicals in the Middle east. If they would quit trying to spread their hatred & belifes to everyone things would be som much better. We don't "force" our views on anyone, we simply give these people options.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bert

    if palestine goes through all the proper steps them give them a stae and allow peace to begin........... isreal wants peace, but will give nothing to get it...... for that reason alone Isreal is wrong on this issue..........

    September 23, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Just remember it was Yassar Arafat that said Israel should be wiped out! Therefore, if you blame Israel for all of the problems, maybe you need to learn history before you spew idiotic statements.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • justageek

      @jake – If you want to go back in time then you have to go back to when this all started and it sure does look like the Palestinians have a legitimate gripe.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. George

    Arrest Ahmadinejad for the illegal arrest, incarceration, and $1.5M ransom of those hikers. Send him directly to Rikers until the $1.5M is repaid.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Hoofleau

      They should have arrested him on the spot for kidnapping and extortion.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcus

      Really? http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/22/us/border-patrol-allegations/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

      September 23, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • lunker

      if a few idiots are stupid enough to go hiking in a land of turmoil where so many people hate americans, then they deserve to be thrown in jail. who cares.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Hoofleau

    This guy is a complete idiot. I feel sorry for the people of Iran. No country is perfect, but this guy is the worst political thug in recent history.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. BlackPantherss2020

    @Harvardgrad , just sit back and watch the demise of the United Staes because of hateful people like you !!!

    September 23, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. IW

    Wouldn't it be hilarious if next year the UN was completely empty for his speech?

    September 23, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcus

      Pretty soon we may find ourselves alone in the UN.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      I say let get rid of the UN from New York. At least we don't have to deal an useless, dysfunctional world body that will never agree on anything!

      September 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
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