TEHRAN // When Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, yesterday called for the restructuring of the UN as well as the global economy, he was, according to Hamidreza Taraghi, articulating the Islamic republic's foreign policy and view of the world on the basis of Islamic ideology and thought. The spokesman for Iran's conservative Islamic Coalition Party said Mr Ahmadinejad's address to the UN General Assembly, in which he said it needed to become a "fully democratic organisation, capable of playing an impartial role" in international relations, was his way of venting long-held grievances and long-term goals.
"It is not acceptable that the UN and its Security Council, which must represent [all] nations and governments and ought to be most democratic and egalitarian, should be under the reign of a few governments, serving merely their interests and obeying their orders," Mr Ahmadinejad told the 64th session of the UN General Assembly. The Iranian president called for abolishing the "discriminatory privileges of the veto right" of the permanent members of the Security Council.
"The speech also served to expose the real identity of the arrogant powers that are imposing their own views on the international community by using their right of veto," Mr Taraghi said. While adopting a softer tone at times compared to his usual firebrand style, Mr Ahmadinejad did hit out at Israel for what he called "committing genocide against the Palestinian people". The Iranian president called for organising a referendum and free elections in Palestine "to pave the way for peaceful coexistence among the Muslim, the Christian and the Jewish citizens of Palestine".
Delegations of the US, Britain, Germany, Denmark, Argentina, France, Canada, Italy, Australia, Hungary, New Zealand, Israel, Egypt and Lebanon left the hall while Mr Ahmadinejad continued talking "It was Ahmadinejad's analysis of the Palestinian issue and Israel's racism that made them leave the session," Mr Taraghi, whose party supports Mr Ahmadinejad, said. "By leaving the plenum, those countries that don't want the UN to be an impartial, free and just organisation proved that they cannot tolerate criticism and their opponents' views. It is a manifestation of dictatorship." In his speech, the Iranian president called for "uprooting the devastating arms and political races, as well as atomic, chemical and biological weapons" at a time when Iran has been under increasing pressure from the international community to curb its nuclear programme, which it claims is for peaceful purposes.
In his UN speech Mr Ahmadinejad also called the disputed June 12 elections "glorious and fully democratic", a view that thousands of Iranian expatriates protesting outside the UN headquarters in New York and the Iranian embassies in Berlin, Paris and London before and during his talk did not seem to share. Protesters called Mr Ahmadinejad a dictator and an unlawful president. firstname.lastname@example.org