The Iranian president pulled no punches during his speech before the 65th session of the UN General Assembly, saying the US government may have had a hand in the attacks of 9/11.
US President Barack Obama pledged on the campaign trail that he would sit down and talk with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but apparently on the condition that the subject material was agreeable to Washington’s ears.
On Thursday, the Iranian president hit a nerve with the US delegation in New York when he suggested 11 minutes into his 33-minute speech that the American government may have had a large role in the attacks of 9/11, an event which, according to Ahmadinejad, is one of the reasons for the crumbling structure of the new world order.
Stating that the events of September 11, 2001, “have affected the entire world for almost a decade,” Ahmadinejad suggested that the 3,000 people killed on September 11th does not compare with the casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq, where “hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, millions wounded and displaced, while the conflict is still going on and expanding.”
The Iranian president, clearly not sold on the official version of events of 9/11, provided three possibilities for what really transpired.
“In identifying those responsible for the 9/11 attacks, there were three viewpoints,” Ahmadinejad told the audience. “First, a very powerful and complex terrorist group, able to successfully cross all layers of American intelligence and security, carried out the attack.”
He called this version of events “the prevalent viewpoint which has been…advocated by American statesmen.”
Then Ahmadinejad dropped the proverbial bomb.
“Second, [there is the view] that some segments within the US government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grip on the Middle East in order to save the Zionist regime,” he posited.
It was this version of possible events behind the 9/11 attacks that prompted the US delegation to remove their headphones, collect their notepads and exit the auditorium. The chairs for the Israeli delegation, incidentally, remained empty for the entire duration of the speech.
Ahmadinejad then allowed for the possibility that “[9/11] was carried out by a terrorist group, but the American government supported and took advantage of the situation. Apparently this viewpoint has fewer proponents.”
Finally, the Iranian leader, who has been the subject of slightly hypocritical Western criticism, not to mention sanctions, over his country’s nuclear program, got a little payback when he suggested that the United Nations conduct “an independent fact-finding group [to investigate] the event of 9/11.”
Ahmadinejad also announced that next year the Islamic Republic of Iran would conduct a conference on terrorism, and how to confront it.
The United States described the claims about alleged government involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks as "abhorrent and delusional."
"Rather than representing the aspirations and goodwill of the Iranian people, Mr. Ahmadinejad has yet again chosen to spout vile conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic slurs that are as abhorrent and delusional as they are predictable", spokesman of the US mission to the United Nations Mark Kornblau said in a statement on Thursday.
US President Barack Obama, who gave the opening speech before the General Assembly on Thursday, said that “the doors for dialogue are still open” if Iran agrees to have an open relationship with the global community.
The American president also mentioned international efforts for enforcing non-proliferation, as well as the signing of the new START treaty with his Russian counterpart, President Dmitry Medvedev, as positive trends towards achieving the ultimate goal of a nuclear-free world.
It was also noted that the Israeli delegation’s seats were empty while Obama was making his speech before the assembly, which may or may not explain why the American president was late giving his speech for an entire hour. Some observers speculated that he was waiting for the Israeli delegation to take their seats before beginning.
It may have had something to do with knowing that the Middle-East situation would be mentioned in the speech, which it was when President Obama said, "If an agreement is not reached, Palestinians will never know the pride and dignity that comes with their own state. Israelis will never know the certainty and security that comes with sovereign and stable neighbors who are committed to co-existence. The hard realities of demography will take hold. More blood will be shed. This holy land will remain a symbol of our differences, instead of our common humanity. I refuse to accept that future."
Whatever the case may be, this fact has caused a frenzy of speculation concerning the condition of the peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. One possible explanation is that the Israeli delegates were simply stuck in the huge traffic jams that have practically shut down the Big Apple during the event.
The Iranian leader went on to defend Iran’s right to develop its nuclear technology.
“Nuclear energy is clean and cheap…and one of the most suitable alternatives for cutting pollution emanating from fossil fuels,” Ahmadinejad said. “The non-proliferation treaty allows all member states to use nuclear energy without remit, and the International Atomic Energy Agency is mandated to provide member states with technical and legal support.”
Ahmadinejad then proposed that 2011 be proclaimed “the year of nuclear energy for all, nuclear weapons for none.”
Towards the end of Ahmadinejad’s speech, he held up copies of the Koran and Bible and made reference to attempts by a tiny American church in Florida to burn copies of the Koran on the 9th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
"Very recently the world witnessed the ugly and inhumane act of burning the holy Koran," Ahmadinejad said. “The Holy Koran is the Divine Book and the eternal miracle of the Prophet of Islam. It calls for worshipping the One God, justice, compassion toward people, development and progress, reflection and thinking, defending the oppressed and resisting against the oppressors.”
“They burned the Koran to burn all these truths and good judgments. However, the truth could not be burned….This is the Koran and this is the Bible. I pay respect to both of them.”