Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Really Knows How to Clear a Room

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during a press conference in Tehran on April 4, 2011 during which he said that the United States and its allies pressured Gulf Arab states to accuse Iran of interfering in the region, and also demanded Saudi forces leave Bahrain. AFP PHOTO / BEHROUZ MEHRI (Photo credit should read BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images) Photo: BEHROUZ MEHRI

Walking out on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speeches is becoming something of an annual tradition over at the United Nations. At last year's General Assembly meeting, U.S. and EU delegations exited the chamber when the he suggested that 9/11 was an inside job. Ahmadinejad's address today garnered a similar response, with representatives from over 30 countries following American diplomats out of the room during his talk. What was the problem this time? Well:

[Ahmadinejad] accused Western nations of "weakening countries through military intervention and destroying their infrastructures, in order to plunder their resources by making them all the more dependent."

The Iranian leader also railed against Bin Laden's death, saying the US had "killed the main perpetrator [of 9/11] and threw his body into the sea".

He added: "Would it not have been reasonable to bring to justice and openly bring to trial the main perpetrator of the incident in order to identify the elements behind the safe space provided for the invading aircraft to attack the twin World Trade Center towers."

Other highlights include complaints about U.N. sanctions against Iran over the country's refusal to stop its uranium-enrichment program, and the charge that European nations use the Holocaust "as the excuse to pay fine or ransom to the Zionists." Later, in an interview with the Associated Press, he offered more on the same themes, along with some suggestions for President Obama's reelection strategy:

“I do not believe that President Obama has any serious roadblocks on his path to re-election. He really does not need to give unconditional support and leave the playing field open for the Zionists.”

And, just for good measure, he returned to the topic of 9/11, though he took a slightly milder stance, saying only that he was "sure" the World Trade Center's collapse was not caused by airplanes alone: “This was a systematic collapse of those towers ... I can say with certainty there must have been explosive material that was set off in sequence.”

Ahmadinejad speech at UN prompts mass walkout [BBC]
US walks out as Iran delivers anti-US speech [AP]
AP Interview: Ahmadinejad says still a chance for US, Iran to improve ties [WP]