x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Western nations walk out of Ahmadinejad's UN speech

Iranian president fails to mention nuclear programme, Arab Spring or Syria but attacks US over wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and support for Israel, prompting walk-out.

UNITED NATIONS // Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attacked western powers yesterday for a litany of misdeeds, but did not mention Tehran's nuclear programme during an address to the United Nations.

The US delegation walked out when Mr Ahmadinejad said "arrogant powers" threatened anyone who questioned the Holocaust and the September 11 attacks with sanctions and military action.

Other western delegations soon made their exit.

Mr Ahmadinejad did not comment on the Palestinian plan to ask the UN Security Council to recognise their nascent state.

He accused the United States of using the "mysterious" September 11 attacks as a pretext to launch wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States and its allies "view Zionism as a sacred notion and ideology," he said.

"By using their imperialistic media network which is under the influence of colonialism, they threaten anyone who questions the Holocaust and the September 11 event with sanctions and military actions," he said.

Mark Kornblau, spokesman for the US mission at the United Nations, condemned the remarks.

"He again turned to abhorrent anti-Semitic slurs and despicable conspiracy theories," Mr Kornblau said.

Mr Ahmadinejad also did not mention the pro-democracy uprisings that have swept the Arab world this year, including Syria, Iran's closest Arab ally.

Barack Obama, the US president, told the United Nations on Wednesday that Iran and North Korea risked more pressure if they pursued nuclear programmes that flouted international law.

"There is a future of greater opportunity for the people of these nations if their governments meet their obligations," he said. "But if they continue down a path that is outside international law, they must be met with greater pressure and isolation."