Photo: Reuters
Protest ahead of his arrival
Photo: AFP

'Zionist regime will collapse'

Iran's Ahmadinejad addresses UN General Assembly in long-winded theological lecture, criticizes 'bullying powers' of trying to thwart his country's progress

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday the "Zionist regime" was headed for collapse, in a reference to Israel. Ahmadinejad, who has said in the past that Israel should be wiped off the map, railed against "murderous Zionists" who he said were manipulating Europe and America.


"Today, the Zionist regime is on a definite slope to collapse, and there is no way for it to get out of the cesspool created by itself and its supporters," he said in a speech to the UN General Assembly. 


Ahmadinejad also sharply attacked the United States and NATO, accusing them of acting as aggressors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and of starting those wars "in order to win votes in elections."


"American empire in the world is reaching the end of its road, and its next rulers must limit their interference to their own borders," Ahmadinejad said. He reiterated Iran's insistence that its nuclear program is purely peaceful, not aimed at producing nuclear weapons.


"A few bullying powers have sought to put hurdles in the way of the peaceful nuclear activities of the Iranian nation by exerting political and economic pressures against Iran and also through threatening and pressuring the IAEA," the UN nuclear watchdog.


"The great Iranian people ... Will resist the bullying and has defended and will defend its rights," Ahmadinejad said. "The Iranian nation is for dialogue. But it has not accepted and will not accept illegal demands," he said.


Thumbs down to Bush

The US and its allies allege Iran wants to develop its uranium enrichment program to make nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is purely peaceful and designed to produce electricity for civilian use.


Iran already is under three sets of sanctions by the UN Security Council for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment.


Washington and its Western allies are pushing for quick passage of a fourth set of sanctions to underline the international community's resolve.


Earlier in the day Ahmadinejad flashed a thumbs-down as US President George W. Bush denounced Tehran as a sponsor of global terrorism in his farewell address to the UN.


The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report  


פרסום ראשון: 09.23.08, 23:48
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