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. Sarbira

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” A fitting quote for Ahmadinejad.
    Ahmadinejad speaks the truth. Of course you wont see that right now, do you think the people of Germany saw the terror Hitler brought upon the world? no. Propaganda, the media controls everything you know.

    September 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. He's a complete ranting fool

    What a scruffy looking little weasel Ahmadinejad is. There must be a shortage of razor blades in Iran... and doesn't even bother to wear a tie when addressing the world? Breeding (i.e. lack of) certainly does tell in his case.

    September 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ART

    Ahmadinejad is a moron and a retard,and should not be allowed to enter the U.S.is there no one out there whos's willing to do the world a favor and take him out

    September 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Because I guarantee he's a hell of a lot smarted than you!

      September 23, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. James

    We can fix most of the problems within and outside of the United States of America, if we would get an honest president who was Brave enough to stand up and tell the truth and do the right thing for all Americans as well as for all the people of the rest of the world.

    Therefore lets all vote for: Ahamdinejad For United States Presidency in 2012 and a person of his choice for his Vice President!!!

    Ahmadinejad For US president in 2012 ! Yes.

    September 23, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Darwin

    I'm wondering how many of you ACTUALLY watched the videos of him speaking. What EXACTLY did he say that was bad in your opinion?

    September 23, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Darwin

    “Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square hole. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
    ― Apple Computer Inc.

    September 23, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mark

    Seems to me when a man stands at the podium, he should bide his time pandering about his own countries issues and not attacking others. This in itself shows the world why people like him are unfit to lead.

    September 23, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. zlholmz

    definitely cannot post the truth on cnn. they just removed my posts and replies. their was no cursing just my opinions

    September 24, 2011 at 4:19 am | Report abuse |
  9. sam

    Ignorant so called Peacmakers....typical

    September 24, 2011 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tony Ausseresses

    The U.N. is a forum for dialog and peace resolution. While many find Iran's leaders repulsive there are many other countries whose actions are repulsive and against U.N. resolutions. Take Isreali settlements as an example. How can the United States or any other Western government seriously expect a viable dialoge to take place as long as the settlements continue?

    September 24, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bryan

    read the entire speech here and you will see the man never lied once.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article29193.htm

    September 25, 2011 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ali dong fong

    America just can't survive in Afghanistan for even a few days without Pakistan. Pakistan will stop US supplies through land route to choke Americans. America is in fact unhappy over the new block growing fast, Iran-Pakistan and China. Look at these American supporters calling America a super power, they have been defeated by Taliban and they can't start a new war with Pakistan. Iran as an attack base is out of question, India knowing what price it may pay will also not allow. No route to Kabul, so Americans are stranded, they will get out of S Asia for ever. Look at the state of these American shootias who cant fight with Haqqani instead the are insisting Pakistan to fight their war. Not only Hina but all officials have warned America, except their planted figures. I don't think America is in a position to start a nuclear war in the region, particularly after its humiliation in Kabul. American case is exactly like the USSR of 1989. Feel sorry for them and their supporters. We Chinese will knock the hell out of Americans.

    September 25, 2011 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
  13. Sbernie

    The concept and idea of Palestine gaining statehood is important and one that has a chance to bring a long sought after stability to the middle east. A peace between Israel and Palestine would save thousands of lives and possibly end the continual trend of senseless bloodshed . This being said, Ahmadinejad is not who the middle east needs leading this en devour. Ahmadinejad's pattern of antisemitism and anti-west beliefs would only serve to increase the tension. A Palestinian country led by Ahmadinejad would only be a ticking time bomb for disaster.

    September 25, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ron B

    This man deserves credit..... he has placed himself in the same catagory as the clown from North Korea... Two of the biggest losers I have ever seen.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. oleg

    At first I was very quick to judge Ahmadinejad. But after listening to his speech I thought that the man is right. Human values are diminishing. Science is being created in order to disprove God's existence. Atheism is rising. Remember, guys and girls, someone who fears no God is able to commit any atrocities. By logic, the more complex and sophisticated our technologies become the more degraded we, as human society, become. These technologies can not be taken to another world, so it must be false. think about it before judging. thank you.

    September 29, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
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