Obama, Ban Ki-moon, condemn Ahmadinejad’s 9/11 comments

During address to UN General Assembly, Iranian president claims most of the world believes US was behind 9/11 and ‘orchestrated’ the terrorist attacks in order to help ‘the Zionists.’

By JORDANA HORN, ASSOCIATED PRESS
September 24, 2010 22:18
US President Barack Obama speaks at the University

obama pointing 311. (photo credit: AP)

 
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NEW YORK – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s remarks during his address to the General Assembly that implied a US government role in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

“I strongly condemn the comments made yesterday by a leader of a delegation that called into question the cause of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on US soil,” Ban said.

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Ban’s comments came after US President Barack Obama and Ahmadinejad traded heated remarks on Friday on the emotional subject of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and hopes for a quick resumption of talks on Iran’s nuclear program appeared to fade.

Obama accused Ahmadinejad of making “offensive” and “hateful” comments when he said most of the world thinks the United States was behind the attacks in order to benefit Israel. The Iranian president defended his remarks from a day earlier at the General Assembly and suggested that a fact-finding panel be created by the UN to look into who was behind the attacks.

“It was offensive,” Obama said in an interview with the Persian service of the BBC that was to be broadcast to the Iranian people. “It was hateful.

“And particularly for him to make the statement here in Manhattan, just a little north of Ground Zero, where families lost their loved ones, people of all faiths, all ethnicities who see this as the seminal tragedy of this generation, for him to make a statement like that was inexcusable,” Obama said.



Obama said Ahmadinejad’s remarks will make the American people even more wary about dealing with his government.

“For Ahmadinejad to come to somebody else’s country and then to suggest somehow that the worst tragedy that’s been experienced here, an attack that killed 3,000 people, was somehow the responsibility of the government of that country, is something that defies not just common sense but basic sense – basic senses of decency that aren’t unique to any particular country – they’re common to the entire world,” he said.

In a news conference at a Manhattan hotel, Ahmadinejad shot back, saying he had not made any judgments about who was responsible for 9/11. He lashed out at the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as an overreaction to the attacks.

“I did not pass judgment, but don’t you feel that the time has come to have a fact finding committee,” he said of his General Assembly address that prompted the US delegation to walk out of the session along with those from all 27 European Union nations, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Costa Rica.

America should “not occupy the entire Middle East... bomb wedding parties...

annihilate an entire village just because one terrorist is hiding there,” Ahmadinejad said.

When he addressed the General Assembly on Thursday, Ahmadinejad decried “the altar of Zionism” and said that the September 11 attacks were orchestrated by elements within the US government in order “to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime.”

Ahmadinejad’s anti-Zionist remarks were a significant component of his speech, in which he asserted that the era of capitalism was over, due in no small part to attitudes and beliefs and the “global management and ruling structures.”

With the advent of atheism and egoism, “Man’s disconnection from Heaven detached him from his true self,” the Iranian president said.

Ahmadinejad attributed the historic development of colonialism as a whole to humanity’s betrayal of monotheism.

In speaking about the world’s current governance, he referenced September 11, 2001’s attacks on the World Trade Center as the starting point for a “propaganda machine” that “implied that the whole world was exposed to a huge danger, namely terrorism, and that the only way to save the world would be to deploy forces into Afghanistan.

“It was said that some 3,000 people were killed on the 11 September, for which we are all very saddened,” Ahmadinejad said. “Yet, up until now, in Afghanistan and Iraq, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, millions wounded and displaced, and the conflict is still going on and expanding.”

Ahmadinejad said there were “three viewpoints” in identifying those responsible for the September 11 attacks. The main viewpoint, he said, “advocated by American statesmen,” is that “a very powerful and complex terrorist group, able to successfully cross all layers of the American intelligence and security, carried out the attack.”

The second viewpoint – which Ahmadinejad called the viewpoint of “the majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians” – was “that some segments within the US government orchestrated the attack in order to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime.”

Finally, he said, some believe September 11 “was carried out by a terrorist group but the American government supported and took advantage of the situation.” He conceded that “this viewpoint has fewer proponents.”

Ahmadinejad announced that, in light of this professed ambiguity as to the guilty parties, Iran will host a conference “to study terrorism and the means to confront it.”

He also suggested that the UN set up a fact-finding group on September 11.

Ahmadinejad continued to attack Israel.

“The Zionists have imposed five all-out wars on the neighboring countries and on the Palestinian people,” he said, also accusing “the Zionists” and “the Zionist regime” of committing crimes against defenseless civilians in wars in Lebanon and Gaza, as well as attacking “a humanitarian flotilla.

“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,” he said.

“All values, even the freedom of expression in Europe and in the United States, are being sacrificed at the altar of Zionism.”

Ahmadinejad proposed “the return of the Palestinian refugees to their homeland and the reference to the vote of the people of Palestine to exercise their sovereignty and decide on the type of governance.”

He then turned his attention to nuclear energy, which he called “clean and cheap and a heavenly gift which is amongst the most suitable alternatives to cut the pollutions emanating from fossil fuels.”

He decried nuclear weaponry, saying that Security Council members “have equated nuclear energy with the nuclear bomb, and have distanced this energy from the reach of most of nations by establishing monopolies and pressuring the IAEA, while at the same time, they have continued to maintain, expand and upgrade their own nuclear arsenals.

“Not only the nuclear disarmament has not been realized [sic] but also nuclear bombs have been proliferated in some regions, including by the occupying and intimidating Zionist regime,” Ahmadinejad said, proposing that 2011 be proclaimed a year of nuclear disarmament, with “nuclear energy for all, nuclear weapons for none.”

He then denounced the structure of the UN, including the Security Council veto.

“The veto advantage grants impunity to aggression and occupation,” Ahmadinejad said. “How could, therefore, one expect competence while both the judge and the prosecutor are a party to the dispute? Had Iran enjoyed veto privilege, would the Security Council and the IAEA director-general have taken the same position in the nuclear issue?” Ahmadinejad suggested revoking the veto privilege and making the General Assembly the “highest body” of the organization.

Calling “occupation of other countries under the pretext of freedom and democracy” an “unforgivable crime,” Ahmadinejad said “the world needs the logic of compassion and justice and inclusive participation instead of the logic of force, domination, unilateralism, war and intimidation.”

Iran, he said, has “observed the regulations of the IAEA,” yet has “never submitted to illegally imposed pressures, nor will we ever do so.

“Those who have used intimidation and sanctions in response to the clear logic of the Iranian nation are in real terms destroying the remaining credibility of the Security Council and the trust of nations for this body, proving once and again how unjust is the function of the Council,” Ahmadinejad said.

“We have announced that we stand ready for a serious and free debate with the American statesmen to express our transparent views on issues of importance to the world in this very venue,” Ahmadinejad said, proposing an annual free debate in the General Assembly.

The end of his remarks focused on “making a world full of purity, safety and prosperity,” with Ahmadinejad adding that women are “a reflection of God’s beauty” and “the guardian of purity,” but that the “tendency to toughen the souls and behaviors of women deprives them from their very basic right of being a loving mother and caring wife.”

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