Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Speech To The United Nations Prompts Walkout
UPDATE: CBC reports the Canadian delegation was the first to walk out, before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began his speech to the United Nations. CNN reports Canada and Israel were not present from the beginning.
(AP) U.S. diplomats walked out of the U.N. General Assembly Thursday as Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a fiercely anti-American speech, attacking the U.S. as an "arrogant power" ruled by greed.
More than a dozen diplomats from other countries, including France, left the chamber soon after.
Ahmadinejad also attacked the United States for its history of slavery, accused it of causing two world wars and using a nuclear bomb against "defenceless people." He further said Washington was guilty of imposing and supporting military dictatorships and totalitarian regimes in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Mark Kornblau, spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, said: "Mr. Ahmadinejad had a chance to address his own people's aspirations for freedom and dignity, but instead he again turned to abhorrent anti-Semitic slurs and despicable conspiracy theories."
The Iranian leader accused the U.S. of threatening to place sanctions on anyone who questions the Holocaust and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States with sanctions and military action.
Ahmadinejad accused some unidentified European countries of still using the Holocaust "as the excuse to pay fine or ransom to the Zionists." He also said any question about the foundation of Zionism is condemned by the U.S. "as an unforgivable sin."
When the idea of an independent fact-finding investigation of "the hidden elements" involved in the Sept. 11 attacks was raised last year, he said, "my country and myself came under pressure and threat by the government of the United States."
"Instead of assigning a fact-finding team, they killed the main perpetrator and threw his body into the sea," Ahmadinejad said, referring to the U.S. military's killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in early May.