Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made his eighth address to the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday, placing blame on capitalist countries for creating a "vicious cycle" of suffering as Middle East developments dominated the annual gathering for the second year in a row.
The speech, typically rambling and full of high political and religious rhetoric, was unique this year in that the Iranian president did not deny the existence of the Holocaust, nor did he call 9/11 "mysterious" as he did in his inflammatory remarks last year.
However, he did criticize Israel as a "fake government" responsible for the "displacement and genocide of millions of people" while incongruently also claiming "I do not believe that Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and others have any problems, or are hostile against each other."
"They get along together comfortably and live together in an atmosphere of peace and amity," he added, saying "the current abysmal situation of the world [is due to an] order that is rooted in the anti-human thoughts of slavery and the old and new colonialism."
All eyes have been on continuing violence and anti-American protests in the Middle East during this year's general assembly. Most of the heads of state and foreign minister in attendance have condemned the recent attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, calling for peace and dialogue.
U.S. President Barack Obama did just this yesterday during his own UN address, in which he said there is "no slander" that could justify the killing of innocents.
He also specifically criticized Iran and Syria, saying the former was on "a path of a violent and unaccountable ideology."
Iran "restricts the rights of its own people, the Iranian government props up a dictator in Damascus and supports terrorist groups abroad," Obama added.
The U.S. president's remarks came as he is facing criticism at home and abroad for his administration's inability to halt a nascent nuclear program in the Islamic republic.
Obama has repeatedly extended a hand to the nation now ideologically and economically isolated by sanctions and condemnations. But he has also insisted that time is not unlimited to come to agreement.
This week, Ahmadinejad said he was not averse to the idea of continued talks with Western powers. However, Iran will not be present at a Thursday meeting of the P5+1, a group headed by the U.S. charged with discussing the Iran issue.
"We are always looking to see how we can advance the ball in terms of trying to get Iran to comply with its international obligations," a senior State Department official confirmed to reporters Tuesday.
"You know that we're working with our P-5+1 partners to ratchet up pressure, but as the President and Secretary have said, there's still time for diplomacy."
The P5+1 meeting will take place Thursday in New York. It will include the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (U.S., Russia, China, the UK and France plus Germany).
by RTT Staff Writer
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