NEW YORK -- Clearly frustrated with international
sanctions strangling his country's economy, Iran's president Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad defied world leaders gathered at the United Nations General
Assembly Wednesday to confront countries he said dominate the world's
Ahmadinejad's speech, which meandered
and touched on religious aspirations and prophecies, critiqued a "world
order" he said is dominated by "power centers" which he didn't name and
that he said dominate weaker countries for materialistic reasons. He
urged a restructuring of the United Nations in a way that gives equal
say to all and eliminates the veto power of the U.N. Security Council
members, which he said use their power to trample the rights of other
The United Nations, under U.S.
leadership, has imposed economic sanctions on Iran to pressure its
leaders to prove their contention that Iran's nuclear program is for
peaceful scientific research, as required by the Non-Proliferation
Treaty Iran has signed.
Protesters gathered in
front of the United Nations as the Iranian leader spoke, carrying signs
and banging drums. It was Ahmadinejad's last speech before the
"I think we should get rid of this
dictator and support the people that are against the regime," said
Brigitte Beck, 48, who traveled with her daughter from Chino Hills,
Calif., to join thousands gathering outside the General Assembly
meeting. Beck, who was wearing a black shirt with a red slash through
the face of Ahmadinejad, said she has family and friends who live in
Iran. They "are being killed back there," she said.
is in his second and final term as Iran's president. The U.S.
delegation boycotted his speech in response to the "paranoid theories
and repulsive slurs against Israel" included in his address Monday.
told leaders on Wednesday that the world body is in the grips of a
"world order" that is "founded on materialism and is in no way bound to
"It believes in the
humiliation of other nations, trampling the rights of others. It aims to
monopolize power, wealth, science and technology for a limited group,"
The world's leading countries are led
by politicians who reject morals "as outdated notions and an impediment
to the realization of their goals," and who seek "unilateralism,
application of double standards and economic wars â?¦ to maintain their
hegemony," he said.
These countries have
resorted to "intimidation by nuclear weapons and weapons of mass
destruction" to maintain their dominant position, he said.
an example, Ahmadinejad pointed to "continued threats by the
uncivilized Zionists to attack" Iran, meaning Israel. Israel has not
signed the Non-proliferation Treaty and is not bound by it.
Israeli leaders consider an nuclear armed Iran to be an existential
threat and have reserved the right to use military force to protect the
Jewish nation if necessary. Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu is
due to address the U.N. General Assembly Thursday.
result of the world's political structure, Ahmadinejad said Wednesday,
is that "no one feels secure or safe, even those who have stockpiled
thousands of atomic bombs in their arsenals," while the gap between rich
and poor is widening.
In an Associated Press interview Tuesday, the Iranian leader pressed his argument against the United States.
willing, a new order will come together, and we'll do away with
everything that distances us," Ahmadinejad said. "Now even elementary
school kids throughout the world have understood that the United States
government is following an international policy of bullying." He said,
"Bullying must come to an end. Occupation must come to an end."
Ahmadinejad also discussed solutions for the Syrian civil war.
Many of the demonstrators on Wednesday carried Syrian flags, protesting the civil war there and Iran's regime.
is aware the nuclear issue is the imposition of the will of the United
States," Ahmadinejad told AP. "I see the nuclear issue as a non-issue.
It has become a form of one-upmanship."
Bret Morse, 30, of Rochester, N.Y., said there may be evidence Iran is
developing nuclear weapons, but "there's no solid evidence that is
happening anytime soon."
He said more
international diplomacy regarding Iran sounds like a repeat of what
happened in the run-up to the war in Iraq and the United States should
"stay out of it."
"I think it should be taken
care of by countries over there," Morse said. "Israel's already proven
that they're capable of defending themselves, and yet they want to get a
free ride," asking the United States to safeguard it.
President Obama warned Iran that time is running out to resolve the
dispute over its nuclear program. In a speech to the General Assembly,
Obama said the United States could not tolerate an Iran with atomic