Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ahmadinejad gets snubbed - again

( Eleven countries, led by France and the United States, walked out Wednesday evening on a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that railed against Jews and Israel. Ambassadors from Argentina, Australia, Britain, Costa Rica, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy and New Zealand joined the walkout. Israel and Canada boycotted the speech before the Islamic Republic leader even began.

European Union countries had agreed ahead of the speech that they would walk out if Ahmadinejad were to start making “unacceptable” remarks. He gave them plenty of reasons to carry out their threat. Ahmadinejad, who copied the Hamas policy of referring to Israel as the “Zionist regime,” derided Israel for what he called its “inhumane polices” and “genocide” against Palestinian Authority Arabs. He also accused Jews of being a “small minority that would dominate the politics, economy and culture of major parts of the world by its complicated networks."

Ahmadinejad defended the results of his re-election three months ago, claiming the vote was "glorious and fully democratic" and that people entrusted me once more with a large majority." He made little mention of the Islamic Republic's uranium enrichment program or its other nuclear development activities. Shortly before his speech, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a soft deadline for Iran.

She told reporters following a meeting with the foreign ministers from Russia, Britain, France, China and Germany that the six nations would wait until the talks with the Islamic Republic scheduled to take place on October 1 before deciding whether to impose harsher sanctions over its intransigence on halting its nuclear development activities.

This is the second time this year delegates have walked out on Ahmadinejad. In April, several representatives of European nations protested during the Iranian leader's speech at the U.N. Racism Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Upon hearing his opening barbs against Israel, the French delegation stood up and walked out. Some 40 diplomats from more than 20 countries, mostly Europeans but including Morocco, followed suit, as did several nongovernmental organizations, including B'nai B'rith International.

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