In a fiery speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad railed today against the United States and European Union, whom he said have "have entrusted themselves to the devil."
The assembly hall was not full when Ahmadinejad spoke. The United States delegation to the United Nations, along with Israel's delegation, boycotted Ahmadinejad's speech to protest the anti-Israel views Ahmadinejad has perpetuated this week during in a spurt of media interviews.
The Iranian leader, who has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel and denied the existence of the Holocaust, spoke today on one of Judaism's holiest days, Yom Kippur. During his speech he referred to Israelis as "uncivilized Zionists."
"Over the past couple of days, we've seen Mr. Ahmadinejad once again use his trip to the U.N. not to address the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people but to instead spout paranoid theories and repulsive slurs against Israel," Erin Pelton, a spokesman for United States U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, said in a statement.
"It's particularly unfortunate that Mr. Ahmadinejad will have the platform of the U.N. General Assembly on Yom Kippur, which is why the United States has decided not to attend," Pelton said.
At a press conference hours after his speech, Ahmadinejad declined to comment on Israel. In a subdued tone, Iran's president repeatedly called for "long-lasting, sustainable peace," and a world of, "peace, calm, stability and prosperity."
He was less inhibited in addressing the General Assembly. During his United Nations speech, the Iranian president had a long list of complaints about the U.S. and Europe.
He called for a "new world order" and said that allowing five countries to have veto power at the U.N. Security Council was "in no way acceptable." The United States, Russia, China, Britain and France have the power to veto resolutions.
"The current abysmal situations of the world are due mainly to the wrong leadership of the world who have entrusted themselves to the devil," he said, referring to America's commanding position in world affairs.
He condemned the current U.S. presidential election for spending "hundreds of millions on election campaigns" and not listening to the "will and views of the masses."
"In the United States and in Europe, their voices are not heard even if they constitute 99 percent of the societies," he said. "Human and ethical values are sacrificed in order to win worlds."
Ahmadinejad also dubbed capitalism a "failed practice" that is "bogged down in a self-made quagmire and has unleashed a deadlock, and has not been able to come up with any solution to the economic and social problems of the world."
In addition, he criticized the United States for "throwing" Osama bin Laden "into the sea without military trial," referring to the U.S. disposal of bin Laden's body off of a U.S. warship following Muslim prayers.
Ahmadinejad did not talk about his country's nuclear program, which has aligned the United States, the European Union and the United Nations against his country with a series of stringent sanctions intended to dissuade Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
He also did not mention during his speech the conflict in Syria, where activists claim nearly 30,000 people have died since an uprising against President Bashar Assad began last year.
Later, at his news conference, Ahmadinejad pushed for "dialogue" rather than more fighting, saying there are only two solutions to the conflict, "one of dialogue and one of war."
Iran's leader said continued war will "will keep Syria in complete chaos and instability" for decades. In an apparent warning to Western nations, who have called for Assad to step down, Ahmadinejad sad that "anything the Syrian people decide upon must be respected by all."
President Obama did not watch the Iranian leader's speech today, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters at the White House daily news briefing.
A bipartisan group of 14 U.S. House members had tried to block Ahmadinejad from speaking to the United Nations, pushing a resolution on Monday demanding that President Obama pressure the United Nations to move or cancel his speech, saying it was "offensive" and "insensitive" for the "anti-Semitic" leader speak on Yom Kippur.
Ahmadinejad has been making the rounds this week, talking to reporters, talk show hosts and other members of the media.
In an interview on Tuesday with the Associated Press, Ahmadinejad railed against what he called the United States' "bullying"" foreign policy.