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. Jazzzzzzzz

    He's a silent character, thought process is laughable

    September 22, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. CheeseSteak

    He's such a trip

    September 22, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jon

    can't we send this monkey into outerspace on a one way ticket? This man is a cancer to all of humanity. I dont understand how after hitler, stalin, pol pot, that we have not learned our lesson. This man needs to be erased...as in taken out....as in removed. If no one else will do it, israel will have to...and then of course you'll all blame israel for the blowback, per the usual anti semitic screed stuff....its typical and predictable. I say who cares, as long as SOMEONE does it.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • gkk

      May be he knows more

      September 23, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. osuno1

    He's a fricken dandy

    September 22, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. michael

    why is this man continually allowed to speak?

    September 22, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. indigo

    He still likes talking his usual nonsense, hoping someone in the UN wants to listen, I guess he'll never learn.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. AmericanEagle

    I wonder why they left??? don't they believe in freedom of speech!!! or they only wanna hear what they like! I'm not a big fan of Ahmadinejad but but every world he said was true...

    September 22, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snap

      Big words, doubt you'd follow them in your own life. If someone comes up to me and tells me that I'm Satan's right hand, I am under no obligation to stand around and politely listen to their nonsense. You're insane if you allow people to force you to listen to their nonsense. Would you stand around and listen to the homeless dude screaming on the street corner that God is going to kill us all? Are you impolite for simply walking away?

      September 23, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
    • gkk

      Everybody has the freedom speech and if all the African leders afrade to talk about Slavery cause they will not be given if they beg from the West someone else will do so let Ahmadinejad talk

      September 23, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Just wondering... does it take effort to be as stupid as you are?

      September 23, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  8. augustghost

    This guy is not as ignorant as you think he is..he's just playing the game....he's a crafty little sob

    September 22, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bobby

    So what did Ahmadinejad lie about?

    September 22, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rhonda

    ANYONE who questions the Holocaust, is subject to a serious mental evaluation. That especially includes Ahmadinejad, and any and all Arabs who not only refuse to believe that it happened, but who also are so evil., that they also want to annihilate that entire race,and that entire region, which is called, ISRAEL. LONG live Israel!

    September 22, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fargo

      So it's insane to wonder why far more Slavs and Chinese died during WWII but all we ever hear about is the Holocaust?

      September 22, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rhonda

      Who killed all those Slavs and Chinese? Where are the stats? Tell me.....

      September 22, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fargo

      Thanks Rhonda, you just proved my point.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rhonda

      Uh huh, nothing to tell me and nothing to back it up. The holocaust has everything backing it up. Thanks to you too for helping the rest of us to know about it.....

      September 22, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rhonda

      And by the way, the Slavs and the Chinese, if they were killed for their race, didn't come near the millions that the Jews did. I feel very sorry for ALL races that were eliminated in Hilter's pogram, but there is no denial that Jews suffered the worst. The reason for that is because the Jews in Europe, at that time, were the Jewelers (hello!), the bankers, and the ones who were making all the money. Just as it is today, and as it is in every country in the world. If you want your country to succeed, and to be financially profitable, then make sure there is a great population of Jews, because, you see, GOD has blessed them. God has blessed them from the time of Abraham. Once God blesses you, He does not take back the blessing...even if His people do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah....

      September 22, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • meh

      Rhonda you sound like you have a few screw loose in your brain. Seek medical attention...asap.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Rhonda

      @ meh, I don't even need to respond to your pitiful reply, because it is so insignificant. It is a tiny speck in the universe.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • meh

      @ Rhonda: as are you and your radical believes. Your way of thinking is what drives countries to war! There is no chosen people you silly little girl. We are all equal...we are all human. And your thoughts makes you a fundamentalist, maybe even the kind to perpetrate atrocities against others!

      September 23, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Rhonda

      I am not at war against anyone. 🙂 It appears that you are the one who harbors hatred against the Jews. I'm quite sure that if we were living in the 1940's, that you would be throwing Jews into incinerators! I don't hate anyone, however, I cannot understand ANY viewpoint that wants to annihilate a people nor a religion....

      September 23, 2011 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
    • gkk

      Are there no other Race if even the Jews suffer the worst but is that means we should forget abou the other race who suffer too????

      September 23, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • meh

      See Rhonda what kind of monster you are. And how much hatred you have. I never said I hated anyone. You misinterpret it because you have so much hatred for others. You are the only one that hates everyone but the chosen kind? Wow, you and Mr. Ahmadinejad are like one! I am part Jewish and the rest Polish by blood! Raised Catholic, and now I only believe in one thing...the human race. My family harboured people during the war back in Kielce, Poland (born and raised). I just said you have a screw loose in your head and that is a fact! Because know one sane goes around talking like a mental patient!!!

      September 23, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      " Because know one sane goes around talking like a mental patient!!!"
      I guess you failed english class in poland??

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

      Also... Rhonda...you are an idiot... learn some history before you make a fool of yourself again...

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

      @rhonda...god! you are an idiot, i hope you ait american cus you will just implify the idea that americans aint smart..go do some research and read more about wars and other race, people etc killing in this world...oh and also saying God chose the jews is an aberration, you have no proof of that except the book you read, you can provide proof of this argument....God chose everyone who will follow him as stated by the bible...so dont come here and spew ignorance and blind crooked believe based on nothing tangible......if you hate to see other race etc killed then you should do your research..by the way, in the congo more than 5 million died fo rthe past 10 years...if thats doesnt count then i dont know what this world had come to...

      September 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Doc

    Why is this worthless c$!?suc&3r still drawing breath?

    September 22, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • meh

      the same reason you are, it's called *drum roll*...oxygen!

      September 23, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  12. God

    Nothing wrong in thinking out of the box not sure why ppl left

    September 22, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bobby

    So what did Ahmadinejad lie about????

    September 22, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sean

    While most of what he said throughout the years may be unwarranted, the fact that many countries, and even many Americans themselves believe there is something more to 9/11 then the US government lets on. Why has an independent investigation not been conducted yet, a recent poll suggested that as much as fifty percent of the USA doesnt believe in the governments version of the attacks.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Amir

    What part is anti Semitic? He is simply saying the Holocaust is not a good excuse for Israel actions and he is right

    September 22, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt Hendler

      HE DENIED THE HOLOCAUST

      September 22, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • millipede

      Like all Arabs he is out for the destruction of All Jews. Not just in Israel. Why do you think they picked NYC to attack on 9/11. It is the American city with the largest Jewish population. It is no less genocide than what Hitler did. I looked on a world map. It's funny I didn't see Palestine anywhere. Instead of Iraq and Afghanistan we should have kicked this guys ass.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
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