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. Ghost

    Obama has broken YET another campaign promise to sit down with our enemies... he jaded and chided McCain for not wanting to talk with Iran... now Obama has been in the real world for about 3 years and his foreign policy is matching up exactly with everything Bush did... GITMO, Secret CIA prisons, Preemptive strikes on nations that pose no immediate threat to the US or its interests (Libya), shooting unarmed elderly insurgents execution style (Bin Laden), Military Tribunals, the Surge policy, Hiring the once General Betray us, now General Petraus, to the CIA, and to lead the surge in Afghanistan, Obama ran on a foreign policy to make things different from Bush (who he claimed destroyed our good standing in the world) and turns out, he can't do it any other way either... He is either in compliance with everything he ran against, or he is too inept to figure out how to change it.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Loqman El Djazairi

    The truth is ..... Palestine and the US are occupied by the same thugs

    September 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. k smith

    Go stand on a street corner in Iran and denounce Ahmadinejad and see how long you live.
    As "upside down" as we are here in the US, you can still stand on the corner and say
    what you want about the president and if necessary, 1000 soldiers will come protect you
    even if they don't agree with what you are saying.

    You can come here and build a mosque and pray inside of it
    and again...1000 soldiers that pray in a church or synagogue will come with rifles to protect you if ned be.

    We are 235 years old and having our growing pains. Things change. The internet has changed many many things.....we are victims of greed and apathy and other problems.

    Maybe we should close the borders and be isolationists like presidents Monroe and Wilson and not send aid to anyone and just let all the other countries work out their problems. Then we could focus on our own peoples problems. Then...if you screw with us, we will give you your head in your hands to play with.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      I am glad to read someone making sense

      September 23, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. k smith

    Go stand on a street corner in Iran and denounce Ahmadinejad and see how long you live.
    As "upside down" as we are here in the US, you can still stand on the corner and say
    what you want about the president and if necessary, 1000 soldiers will come protect you
    even if they don't agree with what you are saying.

    You can come here and build a mosque and pray inside of it
    and again...1000 soldiers that pray in a church or synagogue will come with rifles to protect you if ned be.

    We are 235 years old and having our growing pains. Things change. The internet has changed many many things.....we are victims of corporate greed and apathy...and other problems.

    Maybe we should close the borders and be isolationists like presidents Monroe and Wilson and not send aid and just let all the other countries work out their problems. Then we could focus on our own peoples problems. Then...if you screw with us, we will give you your head in your hands to play with.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. eric calderone

    The U.S., and some of its allies, boycott Ahmadinejad because much of what he says about them, is TRUE. While I doubt that the US was involved in orchestrating 9/11, I also have no doubt that the Holocaust is manipulated by Israel, and the leaders of the US, to maintain a carte blanche policy of unilateral support with regard to Israel's expansionist aims in the Middle East.

    The zionist immigrants into British controlled Palestine from the 1930s up to its establishment as Israel in 1947, and thereafter, used the crimes of the Holocaust as a tool to get the western european countries, and the US, into supporting an outrageous phenomenon of an alien people forcing their way into a territory, uprooting and displacing its indigenous population. The zionists used, and continue to use, the Holocaust as a tool to silence any critical examiniation of Israel's claims to the territory, and its treatment of those who resist its aims.

    Frankly, I don't care whether Ahmadinejad ever denied the Holocaust, because the Holocaust is totally irrelevant to the problems that Israel has inflicted and continues to inflict on the Palestinians. If those who express outrage at his alleged comments about the Holocaust are offended by his purported refusal to acknowledge the reality of the Holocaust, I can only say let these outraged people subject Israel, its policies towards the Palestinians, and its claims to be acting justly, with equal critical scrutiny. Somehow, I doubt that such evenhandedness will occur.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • k smith

      I know very little about history but I believe the jews inhabited Israel 400 years previously; before they were enslaved and then returned to get their homeland back. Wasn't the land now in dispute with the Palestinians captured in The Six Day War? Would Israel be given back land if it was captured from them? "Why can't we all just get along?" Well; because of jealousy, fear, greed and hate and because "we," pass those lovely human traits from generation to generation. I have seen the photo of the 3 year old kid in a KKK robe and hood. It would be nice to break the chain but......we will never have world peace. "How can you have world peace if you cannot even have family peace." -L.W.

      September 23, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Justin Case

    What War in Iraq? There was and there IS NO war in Iraq... that's a ridiculous myth... like the Holocaust.

    We don't know what you people are talking about....

    September 23, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hamza

    To all the people who are criticizing the President Ahmadinejad's speech, should listen to what he said and answer the question he asked with truth and the dare to criticize him, in order to answer his question truthfully people needs to be have a mindset of human first, he is not denying Holocast asking people to see something worst than that is happening in the muslim world and asked question who is doing that, and the answer is pretty obvious.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/2011/09/201195123534582358.html

    September 23, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Canuck

    How about directing some of that outrage towards the plight of the Palestinians???

    September 23, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Why?

      Why?

      September 23, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chimo

      The Palestinians are the only people who's economy is artificially inflated. The only thing the Palestinians ever do is educate their youth to become suicide bombers. Everything they spout is a manufactured lie whose sole purpose is to try and destroy the only Jewish country in the world. The world does not need the 58th Islamic country to sprout up and export terrorism. Israel is the only country in that region who can prove their existence and their ties to the land for 3 thousand years. of course your buddies the Palestinians have devoted their lives to spublishing nothing but lies about their own "past" Trying to call themselves the "indigenous inhabitants of the land" What a crock!

      September 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • staplehawk

      Palestinians are historically Saudi refugees. It's not even their homeland. Historically and Biblically Israel is mentioned thousands of times as Jewish homeland. A book written thousands of years ago. The Koran and every other religious book mentions the area the same amount of times... 0. Fact.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • tamars

      The "plight" of the Palestinians is in their own hands. When Israel left Gaza they left behind many wonderful homes and greenhouses. Instead of using thos structures they immediately destroyed them. When the Palestinians start to do something constructive in their own neighborhoods and start working for themselves instead of accepting handouts, they will regain dignity, kindness and individuality – all those things that Hamas wants to squelch.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dawn

      You do realize that Palestinians make up a large percentage of ethnicity in the countries surrounding Israel right? The difference in situation is that while Israel opened it's borders to all the Jews (no compensation) kicked out of the Arab countries, the Arab countries did not allow those leaving Israel (were bought out in many cases) to come in. Jews and Arabs had lived peacefully for many years, it was the Arabs who told them to leave.

      Palestinians will not get a country of their own while they deny Israel the right to exist- drive every Jew into the sea being the sentiment- and if they are going to continually shoot rockets, sniper passerby (amazing that a big wall will actually save people from being shot- who knew!?) and send in suicide bombers, then peace will not be likely.

      In the media, only anti-Israeli/pro-Palestinian stories are shown. We don't hear about the many incidents that lead up to an Israeli reaction and then it's seen as overboard. The plight you speak of has been brought about by actions of the PLO, Hamas, etc. No country is going to say- please come in and kill our citizens, even the USA.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. More to Life

    this guy is a politician. just like any other in any country. what he says has very little merit. so what if it is offensive to us diplomats. why wlak out? why not just sit back and watch him make a fool of himself.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Soulcatcher

      Or better yet just laugh at him .

      September 23, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. J.cohen

    Deal with this rat now or later like with Hitler with greater loses.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I was thinking the same thing when I read your response Mr. Cohen. Bravo! Simply stated and well put...take heed now or pay even more later.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. More to Life

    wow, this guy says some crazy @$$ s h * t !

    September 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mark

    Derisive laughter might be a more effective respose than angry responses or walking out.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Fred Frederson

    I hope that Ahmadinejad stays in power for decades and continues to make these speeches, because eventually...what's his plan? He's going to keep saying that the US and Israel are on a definite slope to decline...but just really gradual slope...with some upturns to throw everyone off the scent? Seriously, I hope he lives forever. This schtick will just keep seeming more and more insane. Eventually, nobody will even bother leaving.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Pete Best

    I agree with most all of the things Ahmadinejad says. There is nothing offensive, odious or outrageous about any of it. What he is talking about is all true. What is outrageous is that the hypocrisy of the US and the UN in trying to demonize anyone who says things critical of the US. Never trust anyone who tells you that someone with a different point of view should not even be listened to. The US delegate who walked out on him are brain dead zombies programmed to do what they are told and have no interest in truth, facts or reality

    September 23, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • UppityAgainSpeaks

      What planet did you come from?

      September 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • US-is-funny

      Absolutely agree! Most of the americans would not, but that is the fact!

      September 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • RandyMarshCT

      You're right. Unfortunately, most people are far too ignorant to understand. Your words fall on deaf ears... just as his do.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter Goesinya

      You should move to Iran. Your small brain would do well there.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. paul

    WHY does the press give this moron the time of day? And you folks that have ANY inkling to agree with anything he says are as big a clown as he is..........................

    September 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
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