Iran’s Leader Offends a Range of Targets
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran stoked the anger of Israel, the United States, Syrian insurgents and gay-rights advocates on Monday, using the first full day of his final visit to the United Nations as Iran’s leader to assert that he has no fear of an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities, regards the Israelis as fleeting aberrations in Middle East history, is neutral in the Syria conflict and considers homosexuality an ugly crime.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended a high level conference on implementing universal standards of law at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday.
In a series of public appearances that included a breakfast meeting with selected members of the press, a speech on the rule of law at a United Nations conference and a CNN interview broadcast on Monday evening, Mr. Ahmadinejad sought to portray Iran as a principled and upstanding member of the global community.
But the Iranian leader, known for his denials of the holocaust and other inflammatory language, ignored a warning by the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, against making provocative statements. Instead, he offended a wide range of targets and prompted the Israeli delegation to walk out of the U.N. conference in protest.
Mr. Ahmadinejad, 55, is in the final nine months of his last term as president of Iran, and his annual visits to the United Nations for its General Assembly meetings have become something of a media event. Iran attached particular importance to his appearance this year because Iran is the rotating president of the Nonaligned Movement, which represents the largest bloc of members in the 193-nation General Assembly. Mr. Ahmadinejad will deliver his General Assembly address on Wednesday.