Majority of U.N. Member States Remained Seated As Ahmadinejad Accused U.S. of Orchestrating 9/11
(CNSNews.com) – As U.S. and allied delegations walked out during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s provocative United Nations speech Thursday, the vast majority of countries’ delegates not only kept their seats, but many applauded afterwards.
A U.N. Web cast of the speech showed a number of delegates clapping after Ahmadinejad ended his speech, with some holding up cameras and taking photographs. Their countries could not be identified.
When Ahmadinejad took the podium, two American officials were seated. They stood up and walked out when he suggested that the U.S. government was behind the killing of 3,000 people on 9/11.
“The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree” with the view 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 said.
Ahmadinejad proposed the establishment of “an independent fact-finding group … to ensure that the different views about [9/11] are not banned from discussion in the future.”
As the Americans left their seats, they were followed by delegates from the 27 European Union member states, Australia, New Zealand and the small Central American nation of Costa Rica. Several delegations were not seated to begin with, including those of Canada and Israel.
There are 192 countries in the U.N.
Saul Weisleder, the deputy permanent representative at the Costa Rican mission, told CNSNews the delegation had left the chamber during Ahmadinejad’s address because of his “intention to spread serious lies combined with easy rhetoric.”
“This only reaffirms his negative contribution to world peace and practical rejection of President Barack Obama’s extension of a serious proposal for constructive engagement with Iran in order to build peace in the [Middle East] and elsewhere, which is what the U.N. and world leaders should be doing, especially when speaking at the UNGA,” he said.
“Australia condemns comments by the Iranian president in his 23 September address to the U.N. General Assembly,”
A spokesperson for the Australian department of foreign affairs and trade said early Friday Australia condemned Ahmadinejad’s comments and had “responded by leaving the chamber, as did a number of other countries.”
New Zealand foreign ministry spokesman Chris Wilson said his country had joined about 30 others in walking out.
“The references by the Iranian president to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 having been orchestrated by the U.S. government, and to the ‘Zionist regime’ were unacceptable to New Zealand,” he said.
A spokesperson for Canada’s mission to the U.N. confirmed that the delegation had not been present during the speech.
She pointed to a statement from Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon, who called Ahmadinejad’s comments relating to 9/11 and repeated condemnations of Israel unacceptable.
“Iran’s behavior is a blatant violation of international standards and of the very spirit of the U.N.,” he said.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton confirmed that all 27 E.U. member states had left in response to Ahmadinejad’s “outrageous and unacceptable” statements. She expressed the E.U.’s solidarity “with the families and friends of those killed or injured in the 9/11 attacks.”
U.S. mission spokesman Mark Kornblau, issued a brief statement before the Iranian leader had even concluded his speech.
“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,” it said.
Reports on Ahmadinejad’s 9/11 remarks were carried prominently on several 9/11 conspiracy Web sites, including 9/11truth, scholars for 9/11 truth and 911truthnews.