Iran’s president called Israel a nuclear-armed “fake regime” shielded by the US, prompting Israel’s UN ambassador to walk out of a high-level UN meeting on Monday promoting the rule of law.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also accused the US and others of misusing freedom of speech and failing to speak out against the defamation of people’s beliefs and “divine prophets,” an apparent reference to the recently circulated amateur video made in the US which attacks Islam and denigrates the Prophet Mohammed.
The Iranian leader, who has called for Israel’s destruction, used his speech to denounce Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and US vetoes in the UN Security Council to back its ally.
He urged all nations to “hold occupiers accountable and make efforts to return the occupied territories to their rightful owners.”
Ahmadinejad blamed the “discriminatory” veto power of the US, China, Russia, Britain and France for the Security Council’s failure to ensure peace in the world, and he called for a change in the rules “in favor of nations with due regard to justice.”
As Ahmadinejad addressed leaders and ministers from more than 100 countries, Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor walked out of the General Assembly hall.
“Ahmadinejad showed again that he not only threatens the future of the Jewish people, he seeks to erase our past,” Prosor said in a statement.
“Three thousand years of Jewish history illustrate the clear danger of ignoring fanatics like Iran’s president, especially as he inches closer to acquiring nuclear weapons,” he said.
Israel views a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat, but Iran insists its nuclear program is purely peaceful and aimed solely at producing nuclear energy.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes Tehran is moving closer to producing a nuclear weapon and has been pushing the US to set “red lines” which, if crossed, might lead to US military action.
US President Barack Obama has refused to set any “red lines.” The US delegation did not walk out of Monday’s meeting, as it has in the past when Iran attacked Israel directly.
Ahmadinejad did not name either Israel or the US in his speech, but his targets were clear when he said: “We have witnessed that some members of the Security Council with veto right have chosen silence with regard to the nuclear warheads of a fake regime while at the same time they impede scientific progress of other nations.”