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. mm

    From the pictures, it seems as if there were hardly anyone in the room anyway. Who was listening to this lunatic rant?

    September 22, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Anonymous

    For some reasons, reading this article made me want to watch this video.

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/16771/saturday-night-live-snl-digital-short-iran-so-far

    September 22, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Terry Brookman

    I might point out that there is over a hundred and fifty thousand Jews living in Iran and when asked by a CNN reporter if they were afraid they replied that their only fear was of the Zionist government running Israel. When asked if they were allowed to leave Iran they said yes but if we visit relatives in Israel they would be detained and not allowed to come home to their families in Iran. Very odd world we live in.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. TriXen

    This guy's a nut. Hopefully somebody caps him soon.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Robert

    When is Netanyahu speaking and who is walking out?

    September 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Thomas L

    Seems most people are looking at this from one side. What if we were them? Maybe Iran wants to be able to innovate, maybe they want to be more than a third world country too. Instead they are held back by Europe and the US, restricting them from doing anything. Iran is in an area where nuclear energy seems logical. America would always argue that they are terrorist, but that is just what the media is throwing at us. Most Mideastern people aren't terrorist... They want to live a normal life just as much as we do.
    I do not believe anything i hear on the news anymore.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. todd

    i agree!

    September 22, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. chstrig

    Leaving, when he is at the podium, is childish. How is listening to him the same thing as rejecting the Holocaust? It isn't. He is using the podium provided by U.N to make his speech and thereby, it is the stage of the U.N that the leaving members are actually disrespecting. Understood that he can't be banned from making speeches there but then it is not his own personal rally but the U.N who is hosting this chance. The walking-out diplomats are merely re-affirming the solidarity of the West against the rest, and, their undermining of United Nations. It is childish, pathetic and of no value to attend the meet but not listen to each and everyone. If they can't listen to speeches, then what in the world can they do?

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

      Because by staying it says that you agree with the statement made by the "nut^#*".

      September 23, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • ccastine

      its not childish, its protest. quite peaceful protest. first. second, the nations that walked out, including the founding United States, are the reason the United Nations exists and he has even an opportunity to speak. I am not going to get into some nationalist or political debate with anybody, but this guy says the same crap every year and he is so obviously out of his mind. He has no place running any country. His people are poor, in bad health, oppressed, brainwashed, and afraid. No country on this green earth is perfect, but many of the western and Asian nations come a whole lot closer to it that Iran.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Lol

      No. Childish would be screaming at him and then getting in a huge argument over his speech. Walking away is a very mature thing to do. And plus if someone attack his country and its history, do you think he'll just sit there and listen to what the person has to say? Of course not.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott in Atlanta

      Walking out is a diplomatic statement that shows very clear disagreement. That is why it is important at those rare moments when a speaker is actively insulting basic principles. Good for the American diplomats.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. Angali

    The President of Iran is right and says the truth that hurts. The truth is indeed the first casualty of the war on terror, the war on Libya, etc. No wonder why the 3rd world love him...They would prefer live in Iran than in their so-called free countries where there is no clean water after a century of capitalist colonialism...

    September 23, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • 4LordGod

      He is a liar and you are a blind fool. To claim the holocaust did not happen, when there is irrefutable evidence/proof. I give that ingrate no credence and would walk out too.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • ccastine

      i just drank some beautiful cold clean water out of my faucet. right here in the good old USA. now im going to open my refrigerator and get some fresh food and sit down on my leather couch and watch a huge TV in my air condition 4 bedroom 2 story brick house. go f yourself.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. Joethewiseman

    Somebody eliminated the monkey!

    September 23, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. NonZionist

    Reading Susan Rice's hysterical response, one can almost see the strings making her arms move up and down. In a way, her response validates much of what Ahmadinejad said. Yes, Israel is pulling the strings, yes we have surrendered our liberty to a foreign regime, and a fascist regime at that.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tim Thorpe

    The difference between them and us is that we only use rubber bullets when we shoot our own people....unless they're black.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. JohnCBarclow

    Lol, they walked out. But they all good friend of America, who murdered hundreds of thousands of people in Ira

    September 23, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
    • NonZionist

      They use fake indignation to cover up their hypocrisy and their moral bankruptcy.

      In a way, I feel sorry for people in the Establishment. They live in a house of lies, a house of glass that at any moment can shatter and turn to dust. They dare not breathe. They have painted themselves into a corner, and they see the corner shrinking each day. They try to play god and destroy the economy in other countries and now they see their own economy crumbling.

      Truth will set them free, someday.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • 4LordGod

      The true and living God has always protected Israel and ALWAYS will. Try reading history (if you can read) and as long as America is Israel's allie, God will indeed protect US too. What every you do it will be in vain...

      September 23, 2011 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. bonzzi

    The UN is a big joke,they are usless.Why they let this man in to speak just proves a point.The UN is Usless.
    Iran sponsers terrorism and they let him take the stage..You guys are brain dead...

    September 23, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kajo

    They pretend to run when there enemies talk.why ? Hear them, dont wait for the tapes.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
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