US delegation walks out of Ahmadinejad speech

Iranian leader attacks US, says anyone who questions the facts of September 11th or the Holocaust is threatened with sanctions.

Ahmadinejad 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Ahmadinejad 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK – At the UN General Assembly plenary meeting on Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prompted a walkout by substantial numbers of delegates when he yet again deemed September 11 a conspiracy theory and mentioned his skepticism about the Holocaust.
Many delegates got up and left the General Assembly hall 10 minutes into the Iranian leader’s speech when he suggested that European countries use the Holocaust as a pretext for giving aid to Israel.
Ahmadinejad: 'Palestine will one day be liberated'
In typically-florid prose, Ahmadinejad’s 20-minute speech bemoaned the world’s inequities of wealth and power. He did not allude to the issue preoccupying most General Assembly attendees, specifically the Palestinians’ plans to apply to the United Nations for statehood recognition.
Instead, he posed a series of rhetorical questions which implicitly posited that the United States is at the root of the world’s ills due to its foreign policy decisions.
“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,” said Mark Kornblau, United States Mission to the United Nations spokesman, in a statement issued even before Ahmadinejad’s speech had concluded.
“Can the flower of democracy blossom from NATO’s missiles, bombs or guns?” Ahmadinejad asked.
The Iranian leader also cast doubt on the American killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in May of this year, saying that anyone who questions the facts of September 11 or the Holocaust is threatened with sanction.
“Instead of assigning a fact finding team, they killed the main perpetrator and threw his body into the sea,” Ahmadinejad said, before asking why bin Laden was not brought to justice at a trial.
“Is there any classified information that must be kept secret?” he asked pointedly.
The Foreign Ministry issued a statement following the speech saying Ahmadinejad once again “brought a message of hostility towards the family of nations as well as threats to global peace and security.”
The statement said Iran’s disdain for the international community is clear, “and is exemplified by its continued serial disregard for six Security Council resolutions calling on it to cease its nuclear and missile programs – as well as its arms transfers to terrorists.”
The international community, the statement said, “should not have dignified the Iranian president with this platform to speak.”
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.