Friday, September 24, 2010

Ahmadinejad Calls for UN Investigation Into 9/11

UNITED NATIONS (Sept. 23) -- The U.S. delegation walked out of the United Nations' annual showpiece event today after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pinned responsibility for 9/11 on American and Israeli "segments" and called for an international investigation into the terrorist attacks nine years ago.

Listing several conspiracy theories, Ahmadinejad said that most people and politicians in the United States and abroad believed "that some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East, in order also to save the Zionist regime."

He also proposed "that the United Nations set up an independent fact-finding group for the event of September 11 so that in the future expressing views about it is not forbidden."

Ahmadinejad was speaking at the annual debate of the U.N. General Assembly, where U.S. President Barack Obama had earlier today said in his speech that "the door remains open to diplomacy should Iran choose to walk through it. But the Iranian government must demonstrate a clear and credible commitment, and confirm to the world the peaceful intent of its nuclear program."

It has become an annual routine for Tehran and Washington to exchange barbs during this event, with the U.S. usually walking out as the Iranian leader launches into a series of provocative remarks when it's his turn to speak.

"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," Mark Kornblau, a U.S. spokesman, said in a statement that was circulated even before the speech was over.

Ahmadinejad spent the first half of his speech bashing capitalism and Western-dominated international governance structures in a rambling sort of way. He then zeroed in on the U.S. by calling for a U.N. investigation into 9/11 and criticizing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Would it not have been sensible that first a thorough investigation should have been conducted by independent groups to conclusively identify the elements involved in the attack and then map out a rational plan to take measures against them?" he said.

The Iranian president also said that his country would host "a conference to study terrorism and the means to confront it" and invited researchers, scholars and officials from the entire world to attend.

Ahmadinejad also reiterated his position that 9/11 was used as an excuse by the U.S. to occupy other countries under the guise of addressing a threat. The Iranian leader said that while 3,000 people had died on 9/11, many more Iraqis and Afghans had lost their lives since.

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"Then a propaganda machine came into full force and it was implied that the whole world was exposed to a huge danger, mainly that of terrorism," he said.

Turning to the issue of Iran's controversial nuclear program, Ahmadinejad slammed the U.S. and other members of the Security Council for equating nuclear energy with the nuclear bomb in the case of his country, while maintaining their own stockpiles and allowing Israel to keep its nuclear weapons.

"I would like here to propose that the year 2011 be proclaimed the year of nuclear disarmament and 'nuclear energy for all, nuclear weapons for none,' " he said.

In a private meeting on Sept. 19, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Ahmadinejad to cooperate with the international community and allay fears about Iran's nuclear program, which the Iranians claim has solely civilian aims.

The latest report of the U.N. nuclear watchdog expressed concern that Tehran is still not being transparent about its program.

Arguing that a select few powers in the Security Council should not be allowed to dominate world affairs, Ahmadinejad said, "The Iranian nation and the majority of the world's nations and governments are against the current discriminatory management of the world."


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