06/20/2012 09:56 EDT | Updated 08/20/2012 05:12 EDT

Canada Boycotts Iran At UN Summit: Delegation Walks Out During Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Speech


RIO DE JANEIRO - Canada's delegation at the United Nations environmental summit in Brazil walked out of the room today during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's address.

A spokesman for Environment Minister Peter Kent — who leads the delegation — says the walkout sent a strong signal to Iran, and to the world that Canada will not tolerate Iran's radical and dangerous rhetoric.

Adam Sweet says the Canadian government will not take lessons from the Ahmadinejad regime, "who continue to pose the most significant threats to global peace and security today."

Thousands of Jews, gays and human rights activists marched in Rio de Janeiro earlier this week to protest Ahmadinejad's presence at the UN conference.

Delegations from other countries, including the United States, Israel, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union also boycotted Ahmadinejad's speech.

The UN conference, dubbed "Rio+20", brings together delegations from 193 countries to discuss sustainable development issues, such as protections for oceans, helping poor nations use renewable energy and protecting forests.

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