Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad triggered a massive walkout of his speech to the United Nations General Assembly today after reiterating his suspicion that the September 11 attacks were a conspiracy.
The American delegation led the path to the exits as soon as Ahmadinejad spoke about "the mysterious September 11 incident." He again called for an investigation into the "hidden elements involved" in the attacks.
He questioned the Obama administration's decision to kill Osama bin Laden rather than bring him to trial.
"Instead of assigning a fact-finding team, they killed the main perpetrator and threw his body into the sea," Ahmadinejad said. "Would it not have been reasonable to bring to justice and openly bring to trial the main perpetrator of the incident?
"Is there any classified information that must be kept secret?" he asked.
France and other European countries left in protest soon after the Americans when Ahmadinejad began to speak about the Holocaust.
"Mr. Ahmadinejad had a chance to address his own people's aspirations for freedom and dignity, but instead he again turned to abhorrent anti-Semitic slurs and despicable conspiracy theories," said Mark Kornblau, the spokesman for the US Mission to the United Nations.
The Iranian leader's annual address to the world body was characteristically controversial. As in previous years he criticized what he called the "arrogant powers" and suggested the United States and its western allies were to blame for global instability.
He cited, among other things, the two world wars, the wars in Korea and Vietnam, the American use of nuclear weapons over Japan, and US support for military dictatorships in Latin America as examples.
"Do these arrogant powers really have the competence and ability to run or govern the world? Is it acceptable that they call themselves the sole defender of freedom, democracy, and human rights, while they militarily attack and occupy other countries?" he asked as representatives from several countries headed for the doors.
Ahmadinejad also took aim at what he called the west's "imperialistic media network" which he said would "threaten anyone who questions the Holocaust and the September 11 event with sanctions and military action."