“The history of mankind is marked with failures,” Ahmadinejad, who is the chairman of the Nonaligned Movement, said in a speech to a packed hall of the UN General Assembly. The United States boycotted the Iranian leader’s speech.
Ahmadinejad listed those failures - including environmental atrocities, the killing of “millions of innocent people” in US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the “throwing of [Osama bin Laden’s] body into the sea” without witnesses and “Zionist”-led world media-before lamenting “how beautiful and pleasant our lives and the history of mankind would have been” without them.
He said Iran was committed to peace and accused world powers of double standards in pursuing an arms race, as he took to the stage Wednesday at the United Nations.
Speaking from the assembly’s iconic green marble podium Wednesday for the eighth and last time, Ahmadinejad told delegates that Iran has a “global vision and welcomes any effort intended to provide and promote peace, stability and tranquillity” in the world.
However, an “arms race and intimidation by nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction by the hegemonic powers have become prevalent,” he said, and Iran finds itself under threat from world powers seeking to impose their views.
“Continued threat by the uncivilized Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation is a clear example of this bitter reality,” he said.
“A state of mistrust has cast its shadow on the international relations, whilst there is no trusted or just authority to help resolve world conflicts.”
The place set aside for the US delegation was empty as Ahmadinejad spoke. The US delegation “decided not to attend” Ahmadinejad’s speech, according to Erin Pelton, a spokeswoman for the US Mission to the United Nations.
“Over the past couple of days, we’ve seen Mr Ahmadinejad once again use his trip to the UN not to address the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people, but to instead spout paranoid theories and repulsive slurs against Israel.”
Ahmadinejad told delegates that the United Nations should be restructured, noting that many pressing global issues are the result of mismanagement, and that “self-proclaimed centres of power...have entrusted themselves to the devil.” The world is at a “historic juncture” now that Marxist systems are virtually gone and “capitalism is bogged down in a self-made quagmire,” he said, which could allow for other nations to “play a more active role” in global decision making.
Ahmadinejad’s speech was moderate in tone since he was mainly speaking for NAM member states. A demonstration against Iran was held outside the United Nations, with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani among the speakers.
Earlier this week, the Iranian president stirred controversy at the session when he declared that Israel has “no roots” in the Middle East.
President Barack Obama, who’s campaigning for re-election, denounced Ahmadinejad the following day, suggesting that Iran and Syria are on the losing end of a sweeping tide of democracy in the region.
The United States “will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Obama said, reminding other leaders in attendance that a “nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained.”