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Iran's Ahmadinejad Accuses West Of Nuclear 'Intimidation' At UN

  • RFE/RL

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad addresses the 67th General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on September 26.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad addresses the 67th General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on September 26.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has accused the West of nuclear "intimidation" in a speech to the UN General Assembly that was boycotted by the United States and Israel.

Ahmadinejad said he has a vision of a new world order that would be absent of the "hegemony of arrogance."

"Arms race and intimidation by nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction by the hegemonic powers have become prevalent," Ahmadinejad said.

"Testing new generations of ultramodern weaponry and the pledge to disclose these armaments in due time are now being used as a new language of threat against nations to coerce them into accepting a new era of hegemony."

Ahmadinejad, in his last speech at the United Nations before he stands down next year, cited what he termed the "continued threat by the uncivilized Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation is a clear example of this bitter reality."

Ahmadinejad did not refer to Iran's nuclear program in his speech.

On September 25, U.S. President Barack Obama told the UN "time is not unlimited" to resolve the crisis over Iran's nuclear program through diplomacy.

Obama said the United States respected the right of countries to access peaceful nuclear power but that a nuclear-armed Iran "would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of [Persian] Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy."

Israel has threatened a military strike against Iranian nuclear installations.

Ahmadinejad ended his UN speech on a religious note, hailing the imminent arrival of an "ultimate savior."

As a Shi'ite Muslim, Ahmadinejad reveres Islam's 12th imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, who disappeared in the 10th century and who Shi'a say will return to save mankind.

Critics of Iran's Islamic regime have expressed concern that messianic Shi'ite beliefs might drive leaders like Ahmadinejad to seek an apocalyptic confrontation with those he sees as foes of God's will on Earth.

At a later press conference, Ahmadinejad added through an interpreter: "We are ready for a dialogue [with the United States] and a resolution of problems.... We have never had any problems with the people of the United States."

Meanwhile, thousands of people filled a plaza near the United Nations in a protest against the Iranian regime.

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich appeared at the protest.

Syrians also protested Iran's support of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP

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