This week marks the last time Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will travel to New York to address the U.N. and make outrageous comments to American media outlets, and it seems he's finally grown tired of the annual autumn ritual. Hours after President Obama spoke before the U.N. on Tuesday, saying the U.S. hopes to resolve our issues with Iran through diplomacy, but "will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," Ahmadinejad geared up for his own address to the General Assembly on Wednesday by forecasting the downfall of the United States in an interview with the Associated Press. Ahmadinejad "presented an air of boredom" when questioned about Iran's nuclear program. Instead, he brought up his vision for a new global system in which all countries will be equal (except for Israel, of course). "God willing, a new order will come and will do away with ... everything that distances us," Ahmadinejad said through a translator, adding, "Now even elementary school kids throughout the world have understood that the United States government is following an international policy of bullying."
"I do believe the system of empires has reached the end of the road," he continued. "The world can no longer see an emperor commanding it."
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Ahmadinejad to tone down his rhetoric this week, but he's still made plenty of incendiary remarks, accusing the U.S. armed forces serving in the Middle East of encouraging extremism on Piers Morgan Tonight, calling homosexuality "ugly behavior," and telling a U.N. audience that Israel has "no roots" in the region and will someday be "eliminated." On the other hand, he graciously refused to respond to the president's address directly in his Associated Press interview, explaining that he wouldn't want his comments to influence the election.
While Ahmadinejad has yet to say anything during this trip that would make it onto a list of his greatest hits, it's possible he's saving his most offensive material for his General Assembly speech. In previous years he's used the address to accuse Jews of trying to "establish a new form of slavery," declare Israel is guilty of genocide, and suggest that 9/11 was an inside job. Each year, this has prompted many delegations to walk out during his remarks. Ahmadinejad is leaving office next summer, and it's hard to imagine that he doesn't have something particularly nutty and infuriating planned for his final address.