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article imagePresident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's UN speech provokes walkout

By Katerina Nikolas     Sep 23, 2011 in World
United Nations delegates walked out for the seventh consecutive year during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech in New York yesterday, leaving him addressing an almost empty room.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad provoked the usual walkout by delegates when he addressed the 66th UN General Assembly in New York on Sept. 22. Despite his intervention in the release of two American men held in an Iranian prison, convicted of spying, it was the U.S. that led the walkout of delegates from 30 nations. According to the Sacramento Bee, other delegates that walked out during Ahmadinejad’s speech included those from the EU member states, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Reporting on his speech, Iranian Press TV did not mention the walk out, but chose to emphasize certain highlights of the speech. Ahmadinejad criticized military intervention as a method to achieve peace and freedom, spoke of the need for reform of the United Nations, criticized the killing of Osama bin Laden by the US, and raised his inevitable questions over the Holocaust. Speaking of the death of bin Laden he said “Should not, through open trial of the prime suspect, have the elements providing the secure atmosphere for the invasive aircraft (attacks) on the (Twin) Towers (of the World Trade Center) been identified and introduced.” Ahmadinejad also accused the West of bullying, saying “They seek their progress, affluence and esteem in destruction, poverty, and humiliation of others.” In full swing he accused the West of considering themselves “Superior to others and entitled to special and exclusive advantages and do not accord any value or right to others and allow themselves to tread upon the rights of all nations and governments.” According to the New York Times, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain was one of the few delegates to stay and listen to the speech in its entirety. Relations between the two countries have been very tense during the year as Iran has been a vocal critic of the Bahraini suppression of protests, whilst Bahrain has accused Iran of provoking its Sufi population to protest.
Western governments condemned Ahmadinejad’s speech, with Mark Kornblau, the spokesman for the United States Mission to the United Nations, saying “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.” (New York Times)
Meanwhile hundreds of people demonstrated the Iranian leader’s presence outside the UN whilst others congregated outside his hotel to protest.
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