24 September 2010
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has provoked another walkout at the United Nations by suggesting that many people believed the US government staged the 9/11 terror attacks in an attempt to save the survival of the “Zionist regime” (Israel). His comments prompted at least 33 delegations to walk out of the General Assembly Hall, including those of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica and all 27 members of the European Union. The hardline Iranian leader also called for an independent fact-finding UN team to be established to probe the attacks. That, Ahmadinejad said, would keep the terror assault from turning into what he has called a sacred issue like the Holocaust, where "expressing opinion about it won't be banned". He did not explain the logic behind blaming the US for the terror attacks but said there were three theories: One, he said, was that a "powerful and complex terrorist group" penetrated US intelligence and defenses, which is advocated "by American statesmen".
Another, he said, was that "some segments within the US government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grip on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime. The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree with this view". The third theory was that the attacks were the work of "a terrorist group but the American government supported and took advantage of the situation".
Ahmadinejad also launched another diatribe against Israel: "The Zionists committed the most horrible crimes against the defenseless people in the wars against Lebanon and Gaza. The Zionist regime attacked a humanitarian flotilla in a blatant defiance of all international norms and kills the civilians. This regime which enjoys the absolute support of some western countries regularly threatens the countries in the region and continues publicly announced assassination of Palestinian figures and others, while Palestinian defenders and those opposing this regime are pressured, labeled as terrorists and anti Semites. All values, even the freedom of expression, in Europe and in the United States are being sacrificed at the altar of Zionism. Solutions are doomed to fail because the right of the Palestinian people is not taken into account," he said.
A US government spokesman issued a statement, saying: "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."
Outside the UN compound, thousands protestors staged several rallies against Ahmadinejad's presence in New York and against the Iranian regime. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton addressed the protestors. “For too long, the world has acquiesced a regime in Iran that through mass murder, violence and intimidation has denied basic rights to your brothers and sisters and friends and relatives," said Giuliani.
At another rally, protesters held a mock trial – indicting Ahmadinejad for many crimes, including persecuting activists, journalists and women, holding nuclear war ambitions and being a puppet of powerful fundamentalist clerics.
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