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. larry

    those who walked out on his speech should not enter the the veneu again. this is irresposible. so now what if all the Arab states or all the african states walk out on Obama or any wester leader. this is united national assemly. you should not expect everybody to speak on your favour. what he said is the truth , but truth is very bitter. i am not a muslim , i am not a jew, i am a lover of america, i am an african and a christian too. american reprensentatives are wrong. they should apologise to the coommity of nations for their action. no matter how rubish his statements was, the shouldnt have walked out. this have made it know to the rest of the world that america and the west are the real problem that the wolrd is facing. if things dose not go in their own way, any other person is wrong. America should be careful to avoid collaps. thaks

    September 23, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. Emigdio

    I wonder if next year's would include 2012

    September 23, 2011 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. b9fruits

    Walking out had nothing to do with "Ahmad.... knowing how to push the West's buttons". Study up on how intelligent and civil people make a statement when an idiot is speaking.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. mas

    Why walk out of this clod's speeches when there are more creative ways of dealing with him? Things like:

    * When he gives one of his wild accusations, burst into laughter. Slap the desk, chortle loudly, and shout, "That's a good one! Who writes his material? This guy's hilarious!"

    * Or take the opposite approach. Start booing and shout, "Get off the stage, Ahmadinejad! Hugo Chavez gives better paranoid anti-American rants than you do! We want Chavez! We want Chavez!" Get a chant going.

    * Reply, "So did the Jews also rig your elections and gun down your own citizens?"

    * After the speech, shake his hand and say, "Hope to see you next year, unless the ayatollahs throw you in jail."

    Fight evil with humor.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. John

    I know im going to sound mad for saying it, but he made some good points..denying the holocaust and all his anti jewish rants are complete nonsense, along with his "innocent" nuclear weapons program, but we did cause instability in the middle east, and by going to war, we bred 10 terrorists for every one we killed. And while capatalism is by no means a sinful system, some of the concepts of capatilism have led to the U.S to 9% unemployment(why give work in the U.S when its much cheaper across the Pacific). And it is true that sometimes, due to a few mad congressmen, we tend to turn a blind eye to Palastenian suffering, and we look the other way when Isreal stops human rights ships from entering Palestein. Personally I think he was raised wrong, a lot of the terrorists and extremists are, and hes trying to correct his own percieved sense of injustice, he just doesnt realize how wrong he is.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mr. N

    The instant he mentions anything about Israel the U.S. delegation walks out in a hissy fit with westernized allies following suit. This childish reaction to a nation state leaders speech reinforces divisions, hatred, and misunderstandings...the type of unilateral diplomacy I would expect from Israel. I expect my U.S. representatives to advocate an educated and egalitarian viewpoint designed to foster consensus building and common understandings. Israel is a lecherous cancer that has buried itself deep within our political infrastructure and prevents us from having an open and honest debate on international affairs. What agency or department can we turn to that will identify Israelis efforts to corrupt our nations elected officials and their policy decisions? We've been invaded by a foreign occupier and no one's sounding the alarm.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  7. AC Summers

    At least the racist, sick, sob is consistent in his ramblings.
    The should let him give his speech at ground zero and see if he makes it out of NYC. No one will walk out instead they would walk all over him.
    The UN should hold him in prison like Iran does to innocent hikers.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
    • AIPACisEvil

      You're an idiot

      September 23, 2011 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jimbo

    We just need to off this monkey. He really does look like a monkey.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Corona

      I agree. He does look like a monkey. lol... At least we know now that monkey can talk like human; hence, let this monkey talks for scientific studies.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jae Won

    why is empire in quotes?

    September 23, 2011 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
    • George

      They don't want you to think its real.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. Robin Bray

    He makes as much sense and logic as all the conservative candidates in the U.S. Just put his statements side by side with theirs and see how alike they are.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

    F- Ahmadinejad. Testlickles deviant to Fudds 1st law of Opposition : "If you push something hard enough, it will fall over."

    September 23, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. 8andSkate

    Look at that. AhmaNutJob clears the room like a fart. Figures since he's an a** full of hot air.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. b9fruits

    Walking out had nothing to do with "Ahmad... knowing how to push the West's buttons". Study up on how intelligent and civil people make a statement when an idiot lectures.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mario

    He's right atleast for some pary. Like I have never seen US government questioning on anything EVERR. Not even when they invaded and killed peace activists on flotilla or when they dropped phosphorous bombs in Gaza. You want to act like the world Police and the champion of peace, then have the balls to stand up to everyone. Besides, who doesnt know in this world about who actually controls the US government. Find one politician who has ever questionied Israel and has ever got reelected. Bitter may be, but truth is truth. US shouldnt a permenant member, matter of fact no one country should ever be selected on permemnant basis. Only then this world will progress!

    September 23, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
    • rdbeard

      NIce to know that Iranian political machine is posting on the internet. Here I thought they were against Facebook and all social network sites, foolish me.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      very true. it is great that we all stand by our great country on these issues, but it is time that the US Government answer some questions they have been avoiding for decades. Why do we continue to support Israel unlike any other? and I wish people would understand that Arabs are also Semites; not just Israelis.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
    • kirikou

      thanks! you are making sense

      September 23, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  15. Robin Bray

    See how afraid America is when a different opinion is spoken. And we claim all the time we stand for the right of anyone to speak their piece. We don't like it when someone airs our dirty laundry.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
    • rdbeard

      It is good to know that Iranian political machine is posting on the internet. Here I thought they were against Facebook and all social network sites, foolish me.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
    • A person

      Are you deaf, dumb, and blind? Did you hear his speech? Or are you so concerned with getting your unbalanced point across that you ignore all that this crazy man said?

      September 23, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
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