U.S. President Barack Obama has slammed remarks by Iran's President Mahmud Ahmadinejad about the September 11, 2001, attacks, saying his comments were "hateful," "inexcusable," and "offensive."
Ahmadinejad sparked outrage in the United States and a partial walkout in the UN General Assembly chamber when he said in a speech on September 23 that most people believe the U.S. government staged the attacks.
Speaking in a television interview with the BBC's Persian Service, Obama said it was particularly offensive for Ahmadinejad to make such remarks in Manhattan, just north of the Ground Zero site of the felled towers of the World Trade Center.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the European Union's foreign-policy chief, Catherine Ashton, condemned Ahmadinejad's comments, with Ashton describing them as "outrageous and unacceptable."
In addition to the United States and the European Union, other countries that walked out of the speech are reported to include Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Costa Rica.
U.S. officials have said the September 11 airliner suicide hijacking attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people, were carried out by operatives of the Al-Qaeda network led by Osama bin Laden.
compiled from agency reports