New York, Sept. 21 – As 193 countries convene in New York for the start of the U.N. General Assembly’s 66th general debate, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will once again speak for the Islamic Republic and use the occasion to spew out hatred against Israel and the West.
Ahmadinejad is scheduled to speak Thursday morning, the second day of the international gathering. The Iranian president’s public rants against Europe and the United States, calls for the destruction of Israel and denial of the Holocaust have become common fare during his years of addresses at the annual gathering. Last year, he used the U.N. platform to suggest that the United States orchestrated the 9/11 attacks to help ensure Israel’s survival.
He also called for the world to rid itself of nuclear weapons, despite four sets of sanctions imposed on Iran for pursuing its nuclear program. Ahmadinejad maintains that his country’s nuclear pursuits are for peaceful purposes but reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency do not back him up.
A report earlier this month stated the agency is “increasingly concerned” about “extensive and comprehensive” information that Iran is clandestinely continuing nuclear weapons pursuits.
Last week, Ahmadinejad accused “Zionists” of causing World Wars I and II and that Israel was at fault for the “grim picture” the world holds of the United States. He also said Israel was responsible for all of the world’s discords. "Wherever there is a conflict, [the Zionists] are behind it,” he told The Washington Post. In 2007, the Iranian president also used his time in New York to assert that there were no homosexuals in his country. Iran routinely executes people for being gay.
“Are we going to see any nuclear change? No. Are we going to see any movement toward reform in Iran? No," said Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“Everything he does seems spontaneous, but everything he does is deeply calculated, not to make friends but to advance his own political interests," said Jon Alterman, also of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“What Ahmadinejad has been trying to do is increase his power in Iranian politics. But what has been happening in fact is that Ahmadinejad is getting weaker in Iranian politics by getting slapped down so forcefully and so quickly by the judiciary,” Alterman said. Case in point: just before leaving for New York, Ahmadinejad promise to release two American hikers sentenced to prison for spying was overruled by the country’s judiciary leaders.