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:


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."


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


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.


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.


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.


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. ABQ

    This guy annoys me. What good has Islam done for this planet? Muslims, like him, are killing each other and others each day. Is that not a problem? Is he so brain-washed by his "religion" he can't see that? How often do you hear Muslim organisations assisting people in need all over the world? At least Christians, Jews and western nations (yes, including the US who is maybe the biggest contributor) have organisations in place to help impoverished, starving, diseased, people all over the world. They help ALL people (including Muslims), not just Jews or Christians.Yes, America does has it's faults as a nation, but it has done good for many other countries. I am grateful to live here. What does this Iranian president do? How could he talk about peace when he is spreading hate? Israel as a nation, should treat Palestinians as people as well and stop trying to herd and kill them like cattle. ISRAEL, Palestinians are people too! They deserve humane treatment!

    September 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Salma

      You must be jewish

      September 23, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tom Tucker

    wow you people are literally brain washed. He wasn't really attacking jews or saying many anti-semetic remarks. In fact most of the stuff he said was directed towards americans and europeans. You people can complain about muslims causing problems and being terrorists but until you look in the mirror you really shouldn't judge. Americans have caused more tragedy to the world then any other nation. He is defending his country, most the points he made were in defense not trying to blame jewish people for anything. And the whole 9/11 remark, wow, he didn't even go into a conspiracy..he just asked a simple question..why was the man 'responsible' for the attacks murdered and dumped at sea instead of using him as a valuable tool in finding out what really happened on that day.

    Open ur eyes up people...he is a bad man, i'm not defending him, but this whole speech wasn't hateful or anti-semetic..watch it youself at http://www.infowars.com oh and also, quit pretending to be loving christians who want to see the demise of other nations, u r retarded if u think that is what Jesus or God wanted..

    September 23, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • MOAR

      Much of the US is so brainwashed..

      September 23, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. joe800

    ...why isnt this guy dead?...or at least arrest him for leading the kidnapping and torture of US embassy to Iran officials in 1980...why is it ALWAYS about Israel and Judaism?...doesnt that tell you something about Iran and this dou–che in particular?...I say go ahead and give him nuclear material...just drop it from 30,000 feet..

    September 23, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Malik

    Instead of walking out, they should throw shoes on him.

    September 23, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rsprings

    Everyone knows this guy is a nut job except the students and faculty at Columbia.

    September 23, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tee

    It's extremely rude to walk out on anyone's speech and they do this to annoy the speaker. People that did that are nothing but pathetic losers.

    September 23, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dutspup

    Boy there are a lot of sheeple here, you dont think anything he had to say has any merit? You guys have lost your mind, just about everything he said does, truth hurts is why they all walk out, also becasue they have to answer to a higher power. I suppose everyone here think the towers just fell because they were hit? not a controlled demo? Look, you are a moron if you think that. buildings that tall dont fall straight down. We all already know the iraqi and afgan wars were based on lies, and I wont even bother talking about Israel becasue you guys are stupid and know nothing about them.

    September 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. WOT

    All of the people in the north east Africa are related! Sara and her maid saw to that when they had a baby by the same man! The father make you hold brothers and sisters, not the mothers! As we all know, brother and sister will fight but they are still BLOOD!

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

      Why is it always the religious folk who would easily dismiss science and history? No matter what country they are in.

      September 23, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sarge

    What's funny about Ahmadinejad is that he comes over to the USA to spout his vile rhetoric and insanity, and enjoys our freedoms and protection to be able to do so. However, if President Obama went to Tehran and tried to make a speech to the Iranian people, he'd be dragged off by an angry mob. They need to bar this wacko from putting his feet on our soil.

    September 23, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • John G.

      Good Point!

      September 23, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Let him keep coming. In the spirit of the United Nations we should allow everyone to speak. This welcoming is not lost on other countries. They know who the Neanderthals are. The Iranians have few friends and only a tiny majority of those would give any credence to the current puppet repeating the dribble of the psychotic Supreme Leader.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarge

      It's too bad the plane bringing him over doesn't have a malfunction over the Atlantic.

      September 23, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David

    Ahmadinejad must have really, really bad breath and BO to cause all those walkouts.

    September 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    Ahmadinejad's sole interest is attaining a media profile that is way above his station. He is much like a youth who invents their own version of reality because they are too scared, inadequate and immature to interact with the real World as it is.
    Rather than go to war with the guy, we do far more damage by turning around and walking away in disdain. Don't give him a media profile. If he wants our attention and respect, let him earn it honestly, truthfully and with respect.

    September 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bookgirl

    Broken record. The guy hates us. Whatever. NEXT!

    September 23, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Matt

    LOL, does this moron not remember that Al Qaeda TOOK CREDIT for 9/11??

    September 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Steph

    Well , debate with him ... isn't the whole Idea behind the UN to encourage talk between nations? Walking out just because you don't like what he has to say isn't solving anything! Not an easy road , but one has to try right?

    September 23, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Let me guess: You're really really young, or else incredibly naive. Debating this whack-job is a complete waste of time and only increases his stature. You'd get further arguing with a post.

      September 23, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • theboss59

      Why even waste our time, its like trying to tell blake americans to stop acting like there owed somthing all you going to get is a long and loud bunch of babble why waste time.

      September 23, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ladeebugg

    I do not support or agree with any of the non sense coming out the mouth of this nutjob. However, I can say he is consistent with theme of hating the Western World, Jerusalem, calling for the demise of said countries, begging for a nuclear program and denying the holocaust in each speech year after year.

    September 23, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
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