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Iran's President Takes New York By Storm, One Last Time

Ahmadinejad Says Israel Has 'No Roots' In Regioni
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September 25, 2012
At a press conference in New York ahead of a meeting of the UN General Assembly, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said that Israel has no historical roots in the region, and that Iran does not take Israeli threats of an attack seriously. Speaking later at a high-level UN meeting on the rule of law, Ahmadinejad questioned the legitimacy of the Security Council. (Reuters)

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The Most Memorable, Controversial 'Ahmadinejad In The U.S.' Moments

His speech at the UN is his annual soapbox opportunity, in the very heart of the beast no less, to air his well-worn opinions on the Holocaust, homosexuals, and the general evils of the West.
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By Frud Bezhan
The "Mahmud Ahmadinejad Show" is off to a quick start, with the Iranian president revealing some fresh material as he prepares to address the UN General Assembly this week.

Ahmadinejad is well-known for using the general debates as an annual stage for political theater and abrasive comments. He wasted no time getting the ball rolling during a press conference in New York on September 24.

"They [Israel] don't even enter the equation for Iran. What are these Zionists? Put a map of the world in front of you, put an atlas in front of you," Ahmadinejad said. "Iran has been around for the past 7,000 or 10,000 years. [Israelis] have been occupying those territories for the last 60 to 70 years with the support of force of the Westerners. They have no roots there in history."

In addition to his frequent targets, Israel and the United States, Ahmadinejad also had some choice words for gay-rights activists, Syrian rebels, and "full-of-s**t" Iranian lawmakers. And following up on his assessment that the controversy over Iran's nuclear program "resembles a comedy," the Iranian president even tried out a few jokes of his own.

Not Holding Back

Ahmadinejad has placed special significance on this year's event.

Iran recently assumed the rotating presidency of the Nonaligned Movement, and upon taking up the mantel Ahmadinejad pledged to be a vocal leader for a grouping that represents the largest voting bloc in the United Nations.

On top of that, with an election next summer spelling the end of Ahmadinejad's run as president, this week's general debates are likely his last opportunity to speak freely in New York as president.

Demonstrators participate in a rally against Ahmadinejad near the Warwick New York Hotel on September 24.
Demonstrators participate in a rally against Ahmadinejad near the Warwick New York Hotel on September 24.

Thus far, Ahmadinejad has done his best to contradict a plea by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to avoid provocative declarations. Facing off with some of the heavyweights of American media during an event at a New York hotel, the Iranian president appeared to relish the opportunity to deliver barbs.

When asked about Israel's threats to carry out attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities, Ahmadinejad, 55, said he viewed them as a hopeless distraction.

"Fundamentally, we do not take seriously the threats of the Zionists regarding an attack on Iran by them. Even though Iran, at the end of the day is a great country, and let me assure you, we do have all defensive means at our disposal and we are ready to defend ourselves, we do believe that the Zionists see themselves at a dead end," Ahmadinejad said.

"They want to be adventurous in order to find a salvation, a way out of this dead end."

Not So Funny

About the whole Iranian nuclear issue, Ahmadinejad said it had become a "very tiresome subject. It has become one of 'one-upmanship' by these parties, so at the end of the day, I assure you, everyone knows that Iran is not seeking a nuclear bomb, and unfortunately, the scene resembles a comedy."

There was time, however, to discuss Salman Rushdie, who has a $3.3 million bounty on his head as part of the 1989 death fatwa issued by Iran's late leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, for allegedly blaspheming Islam in his book "The Satanic Verses."

When "The New Yorker" editor David Remnick asked Ahmadinejad whether the fatwa remained in effect, the president reportedly responded, "Where is he now? Is he in the U.S.? You shouldn't broadcast this for his own safety."

It was not the only apparent joke to fall flat.

"Why are you still calling the international powers negotiating with Iran on its nuclear program the P5+1?," Ahmadinejad quipped. "Even Iranian schoolchildren know that equals 6."

The crowd's response? Dead silence. But Ahmadinejad was not done yet.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad addresses the General Assembly’s high-level meeting at UN headquarters in New York on September 24.
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad addresses the General Assembly’s high-level meeting at UN headquarters in New York on September 24.


As he headed out of the hotel, Ahmadinejad was questioned about the size of his delegation by a reporter from the BBC's Persian Service. "Mr. Ahmadinejad, the Iranian parliament said you obtained visas for 160 people," the reporter said.

After Ahmadinejad ignored the comment, the reporter pressed on. "Mr. Ahmadinejad, why do you have visas for 160 people?" he asked. "Parliament is asking what these people are doing here."

Turning momentarily to address his inquisitor, Ahmadinejad snapped back with the Persian equivalent of, "They [parliament] are full of s**t."

No Love Lost

Speaking later at a high-level UN meeting on the rule of law, he condemned, without referring to any country by name, the United States for overlooking Israel's undeclared nuclear arsenal while attempting to sabotage Iran's nuclear program.

"Some members of the Security Council with veto rights have chosen silence with regard to the nuclear warheads of a fake regime [Israel], while at the same time they impede the scientific progress of other nations," Ahmadinejad said.

The remarks rapidly prompted the Israeli delegation to storm out of the UN conference in protest.

And finally, in an exclusive interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, the president took a swipe at what he said was the West's lenient attitude toward homosexuality, which is forbidden by Iran's theocratic regime.

"Let me ask you this," Ahmadinejad said. "Do you believe that anyone is giving birth through homosexuality? Homosexuality ceases procreation."

"If a group recognizes an ugly behavior or ugly deed as legitimate, you must not expect other countries or other groups to give it the same recognition," he concluded.

* This story has been amended to clarify derogatory comments Ahmadinejad made about the Iranian parliament.

Frud Bezhan

Frud Bezhan covers Afghanistan and the broader South Asia and Middle East region. Send story tips to bezhanf@rferl.org. 

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by: Alex from: UK
September 25, 2012 17:59
Ahmadinejad has not been elected by Iranian people, Khamene'ee elected him. He should not have been allowed to be at the United Nation assembly. One day the world will regret allowing The ruthless Clergy Regime having nuclear warheads at their disposal. Finally not only he has been allowed to attend the United Nations Assembly, he also brought with him 160 of his delegates. For goodness sakes, why ?!
In Response

by: Logic from: World
September 26, 2012 15:41
Old myth, destroyed by www.raceforiran.com in an academic manner.

A poll carried out by a western news organization. It was jointly commissioned by the BBC and ABC News, and conducted by an independent entity called the Center for Public Opinion (CPO) of the New America Foundation. The CPO has a reputation of conducting accurate opinion polls, not only in Iran, but across the Muslim world since 2005. The poll, conducted a few weeks before the elections, predicted an 89 percent turnout rate. Further, it showed that Ahmadinejad had a nationwide advantage of two to one over Mousavi.

How did this survey compare to the actual results? And what are the possibilities of wide scale election fraud?

According to official results, there were 46.2 million registered voters in Iran. The turnout was massive, as predicted by the CPO. Almost 39.2 million Iranians participated in the elections for a turn out rate of 85 percent, in which about 38.8 million ballots were deemed valid (about 400,000 ballots were left blank). Officially, President Ahmadinejad received 24.5 million votes to Mousavi’s 13.2 million votes, or 62.6 per cent to 33.8 per cent of the total votes, respectively. In fact, this result mirrored the 2005 elections when Ahmadinejad received 61.7 per cent to former President Hashemi Rafsanjani’s 35.9 per cent in the runoff elections. Two other minor candidates, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohsen Rezaee, received the rest of the votes in this election.

There were a total of 45,713 ballot boxes that were set up in cities, towns and villages across Iran. With 39.2 million ballots cast, there were less than 860 ballots per box. Unlike other countries where voters can cast their ballots on several candidates and issues in a single election, Iranian voters had only one choice to consider: their presidential candidate. Why would it take more than an hour or two to count 860 ballots per poll? After the count, the results were then reported electronically to the Ministry of the Interior in Tehran.

What is the most significant about his current meeting is the request by the Occupy Movement leaders to meet him, a great idea and hopefully this will further energize them.

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
September 25, 2012 18:21
The lgbt posters say go to hell-where is that?In Bronx or in Harlem?Or maybe it is Christopher street?And good old Mahmud is totally wrong-the fallen angels-thats the lgbts have very very deep roots in history indeed and they shall inherit the earth and sky and all the cosmoses in this world-the rest of us are just plain perverts.Now gimme back my Steely Dan or I shall #~~@$%^&** the bloody `ell out of you and send you to Guantanamo!!!

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
September 26, 2012 04:50
VIDEO: the free youth of New York protesting against the visit of Ahmadinejad: http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2012/09/25/videos/1348601224_973288.html

by: Alexander from: Vienna
September 26, 2012 07:42
On the other hand, if Israel, which even officially is not recognized by many counties around the world, was given a right to develop nuclear weapons, then why Iran must be deprived of this right – where is a logic? And when it comes to Israel’s right on nuclear issue or its occupation of Palestinian land, the UN Security Council biasedly keeps silent, but when it comes to Iran, Security Council is so “honest” and so “eager” to “solve all the problems” – where is a justice? Don’t you see that Mr.Ahmadinejat has constantly been raising these particular issues? And don’t you see that the Israel’s, US’s and many other Western countries’ officials unable to answer to his simple questions and had to leave the session just out of fear or out of intolerance to listen about bitter reality? If you don’t see all of these and other things, maybe it is not the Iranian president’s problem, but yours….

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