Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the 66th United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sept. 23, 2011.
Credits: REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine
UNITED NATIONS, NY - In his eighth and likely final address to the United Nations General Assemly, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a speech here Wednesday laced with religious references but largely stayed away from hate-filled anti-Jewish screeds that have marked his previous appearances here.
Canadian diplomats boycotted the speech, leaving the UN general assembly hall before Ahmadinejad even took the stage.
"We will not sit silently in our chairs and listen to Iran's hateful, anti-Western, anti-Semitic views. If anything, today's address only reinforces our decision earlier this month to suspend diplomatic relations with Iran," said Rick Roth, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird who remained in Ottawa.
US and Israeli diplomats also boycotted the speech.
Canada recently severed diplomatic relations with Iran but Ahmadinejad said nothing about that during his speech.
Ahmadinejad did say that a worldwide Jewish conspiracy was preventing "the world media to freely report and shed light on ... realities."
And he also spoke about the "continued threat by the uncivilized Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation", a reference to Israel's determination to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, even if that involves some sort of military action.
But he did not repeat comments he made Monday here when he said Israel would one day be "eliminated."
Ahmadinejad also called on the United Nations to reform itself lest its "standing be damaged", an ironic aspiration considering that many in the West have said Ahmadinejad's very presence for eight consecutive years at the General Assembly has already diminished the UN's standing.
In his rambling 25-minute speech, Ahmadinejad blamed capitalism for the world's problems and called on the nations of the world to prepare themselves for the coming of the 12th imam, a coming saviour in the Islamic belief.