Sun, Oct 03, 2010 | The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Broad-Based Support for President Ahmadinejad’s Speech to UN General Assembly
This week, Iranian media and top officials commended President Ahmadinejad for the speech given to the UN General Assembly last Thursday (September 23).
In his address, the president claimed that the majority of the American people as well as other nations believe that it was the US government that orchestrated the September 11 attacks to reverse the declining American economy and its grip on the Middle East and also to save “the Zionist regime”.
The president proposed that the UN set up an independent international fact finding commission to investigate the events of September 11. In addition, he called for a comprehensive reform of the UN, mainly the revocation of the veto power held by the five permanent Security Council members.
Ahmadinejad once again lashed out against Israel, calling to allow Palestinian refugees the right of return and asking for a referendum among the original people of Palestine to decide on the desired type of government there.
Speaking on the subject of Iran’s nuclear program, the president reiterated his claim that Iran is strongly opposed to nuclear weapons but insists on its legitimate right to peaceful nuclear technology. He called on the UN to declare the year 2011 as the year of nuclear disarmament, with the motto “Nuclear Energy for all, Nuclear Weapons for None”.
In a sermon delivered at Tehran University last weekend, Tehran’s Friday prayer leader Hojjatoleslam Kazem Sediqi offered praise for the president’s speech, saying it was “the message of the Iranian people”. Sediqi noted that the message had been delivered to the international community in a clear, transparent manner, and that the president’s remarks were a “divine gift” for the Iranian nation (Fars, September 24).
The conservative daily Resalat also praised the president for his speech. An editorial published Saturday, September 25, said that during his visit to New York, the president was able to deliver to the whole world Iran’s message on the policy needed to handle world affairs and to influence international public opinion. Despite attempts by various US elements to undermine his visit, Ahmadinejad succeeded in spreading the message of Iran and the Islamic Revolution even on US media. Courageously and fearlessly, the president proved it is possible to counter the “soft campaign” waged by Iran’s enemies and to garner public support for its stance, using the enemy’s own media for that purpose.
The daily Keyhan said that the president’s visit to New York was an all-out success. According to the daily, Ahmadinejad’s revolutionary views attracted the attention of Western public opinion, as not only did the president criticize the philosophical foundation of Western civilization as well as liberal and capitalist thought, but also offered solutions to the dead end of Western thought. Despite the propaganda against him, Western media were lining up to interview the president. The daily claimed that the walkout of numerous delegations during the president’s speech should not be considered particularly important, and that most delegations remained in the room to listen attentively to what the president had to say. Even delegations that had left the room were closely watching the speech, proof of which was the fact that the Western delegation leaders commented on Ahmadinejad’s remarks minutes after the speech had ended.
No objections were voiced in the UN over the president’s address, indicating that the international organization is undergoing profound upheaval. The UN cannot continue on its current course when there are over 170 member states that support Ahmadinejad’s proposals for reforms in the organization’s structure and modus operandi. The UN has changed for good, says Keyhan, and this may lead to a change in the entire world order (Keyhan, September 25).
Even the president’s political opponents had praise for his speech. Ahmad Tavakoli, chief of the Majles Research Center and one of Ahmadinejad’s major opponents in the conservative camp, praised the president’s speech and said that the views he expressed in his address to the UN General Assembly and in an interview he granted to American TV host Larry King showed political insight and national respect, and served Iran’s interests. He noted that the president’s remarks about the way how world affairs should be handled were reasonable and intelligent (Alef, September 24).
The reformist daily Mardom Salari also reported that the speech given by the president was good. The daily wondered, however, whether it was the right thing to do to speak to the UN General Assembly in a way that prompted many world leaders to walk out early during the speech in protest of the president’s remarks (about the September 11 attacks), missing his key message (Mardom Salari, September 25).
The daily also criticized the president, who granted numerous interviews to foreign (including American) media during his visit to New York, for avoiding Iranian media, with the exception of government-controlled media (Mardom Salari, September 26).
Unusual criticism of Ahmadinejad’s speech was made by Prof. Sadegh Zibakalam, one of Iran’s major reformist intellectuals. In an interview to news website Khabar Online, Zibakalam said that the speech did not serve Iran’s interests because it had been met with overwhelming opposition from the leaders of the various countries who represent the world nations. Zibakalam noted that the speech could be divided into two parts.
The first part was dedicated to criticizing capitalism and the unfair distribution of the world’s wealth, and offered nothing new compared to issues brought up in the past by Marxist philosophers and radical revolutionary leaders. The fundamental question is whether Ahmadinejad has a solution to the problem, the answer to which is no, since even the government of Iran is unable to guarantee a fair distribution of its country’s wealth, while Iranian economy is rife with corruption and injustice.
The second part of the speech dealt with the September 11 events and completely ignored the indictment of the main suspects in the terrorist attacks and the obvious involvement of Al-Qaeda (Khabar Online, September 25).