UNITED NATIONS — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday that “uncivilized Zionists” are threatening to attack his country, but he otherwise was silent on the continuing clash between Iran and world powers over the Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.
Ahmadinejad, in an address that climaxed days of public and media appearances in New York, focused his remarks on what he described as an unjust international system, built around the United Nations, that oppresses the world in the interests of the West’s wealthy minority.
He said his country has “suffered from the agonies of forced aggressions” from countries he didn’t identify. He said that an “arms race and intimidation by nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction by hegemonic powers have become prevalent” and that a “continued threat by the uncivilized Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation is a clear example of this bitter reality.”
He complained that the United Nations has no legitimacy, while praising the Non-Aligned Movement, which met weeks ago in Tehran with the Iranian regime presiding. Ahmadinejad said he spoke for the group.
“A state of mistrust has cast its shadow on the international relations, whilst there is no trusted or just authority to help resolve world conflicts,” he said.
Ahmadinejad didn’t dwell for long on his regime’s disputes with Israel, as he has in earlier remarks to the media this week. In an interview on Monday, he said Israel’s presence in the Middle East would be only a short-term one, and predicted that before long it would be “eliminated.”
Before the U.N., he took aim at the materialism of the West and what he saw as the corruption of the American political system. He said the wealthy in the United States spend “hundreds of millions of dollars” on elections, spending they viewed as just “an investment.”
Powerful Americans don’t care, he said, “about the 99 percent.”
The U.S. and Israeli delegations didn’t show up for the speech, but many others did, including representatives of Britain, France, the Palestinians and many Arab countries.
Outside the U.N., protesters denounced his visit.