only on this speech?
U.N. delegates walk out during Iranian president’s speech
(CNN) — Representatives from the United States and many other nations walked out of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a fiery speech that criticized the U.S., the U.N. and capitalism itself.
Incendiary statements from Ahmadinejad are nothing new for the assembled delegates. But tension grew as he recounted various conspiracy theories about the September 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., driving multiple representatives from the hall.
“Some segments within the US government orchestrated the attack,” Ahmadinejad told the assembly. He followed with the claim that the attacks were aimed at reversing “the declining American economy and its scripts on the Middle East in order to save the Zionist regime. The majority of the American people, as well as most nations and politicians around the world, agree with this view.”
After that statement, delegates rose and exited the hall. Representatives from the U.S., the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, Belgium, Uruguay and Spain walked out while Ahmadinejad discussed claims that the U.S. was involved in the attacks or allowed them to happen as an excuse to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Mark Kornblau, a spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the U.N., said in a statement, “Rather than representing the aspirations and goodwill of the Iranian people, Mr. Ahmadinejad has yet again chosen to spout vile conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic slurs that are as abhorrent and delusional as they are predictable.”
A European Union diplomat said that all 27 member nations had agreed to walk out if Ahmadinejad made inflammatory statements during his address.
But Ahmadinejad did not demur from his line of attack as the walkouts proceeded. He went on to compare the deaths in the September 11 attacks to the casualty count in the wars in Afghanistan in Iraq.
“It was said that some 3,000 people were killed on September 11th, for which we are all very saddened,” he said. “Yet, up until now in Afghanistan and Iraq, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, millions wounded and displaced, and the conflict is still going on and expanding.”
Ahmadinejad also continued the attack on capitalism that he began Monday, during an address at the Millennium Global Development Summit. He linked the U.S.-led conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan with wars for colonial expansion in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
The Iranian president touched on the recent controversy over a Florida pastor’s plans to burn Qurans. Ahmadinejad waved copies of a Bible and a Quran as he declared his respect and reverence for both.
He concluded his address with a defense of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, discussing a recently submitted statement to the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.