Ahmadinejad criticizes U.S. in NY visit

Derek Thurber

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On Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2007, the United Nations saw unusually harsh criticisms and sharp comments made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He came to the United States to address Columbia University on Monday, Sept. 24 and the United Nations on Tuesday. Ahmadinejad: Nothing but

His visit has been met controversially both in the United States and in Iran. Iranians have hailed him as a hero for coming to the United States: the enemy’s territory.

“By fearlessly and courageously walking into the ‘Lion’s Den’ . . . He is sure to become even more of a hero in the Arab-Muslim street than before,” the Iran News wrote.

The people of the United States did not meet him kindly. After his address to Columbia University, the university president told Ahmadinejad he behaved like “a petty and brutal dictator.”

Ahmadinejad later told reporters he was not offended by his treatment at Columbia.

“Columbia University, its authorities and officials need to practice a little more listening to other points of view and things they do not like to hear,” he said.

His comments at the United Nations General Assembly a day later have caused the most controversy. He spoke generally about a wide range of issues.

Though President Bush had spoken only hours before about the necessity to bring peace to Burma, Ahmadinejad was quick to criticize the United States’ role as a bringer of peace. Ahmadinejad never specified the United States in his address, but his implications were clear.

“Some big powers still behave like the victors of the world war and humiliate other nations,” Ahmadinejad said.

President Bush commented uncharacteristically little on the Iraq war in his speech. In his other speeches to the UN he has focused on the Iraq war, but the president chose to speak about the less controversial issue of the recent protests in Burma.

Ahmadinejad also commented on the United Nations’ inquiry on nuclear technology in Iran. He declared that the topic was “closed,” that military threats and economic sanctions had failed and so he had won.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared in his speech that the potential acquisition of nuclear technology by the Iranians presented too great a risk to international stability.

After the General Assembly meeting concluded, Ahmadinejad met with reporters and answered many controversial questions including ones on Israel, homosexuals and human rights.

In this session with reporters Ahmadinejad commented on his previous, controversial claim that there are no homosexuals in Iran.
“I don’t know any . . . give me an address so we can be aware,” he said.

Ahmadinejad was not allowed to visit the site of the Twin Towers when he visited New York.

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