- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 23, 2010

UNITED NATIONS — American and West European diplomats walked out of the room in protest as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggested in an address to the UN General Assembly that the U.S. government may have orchestrated the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in an effort to bolster Israel.

The provocative Iranian leader made the remarks in sometimes rambling tirade that hit the U.S. for its “occupation” of Iraq and Afghanistan, and predicted an end to the current world order.

Mr. Ahmadinejad did not directly endorse the theory that U.S. officials engineered or condoned the 9/11 strikes, but said that many people around the world believed “that some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy, and its grips on the Middle East, in order to save the Zionist regime.”

The incendiary statement came several hours after President Obama touted the latest round of UN sanctions against Iran as proof that multilateral diplomacy was working in the crisis over Iran’s suspect nuclear programs and that violating international weapons inspection laws brings consequences.

In his address, Mr. Obama said the “door” is still open to diplomacy if Iran so chooses, though such a gesture seems increasingly unlikely if the tenor of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s comments before the UN are any indication. Indeed, the Iranian leader has made a habit of provoking the West in his annual speeches to the world body, by attacking Israel or describing “Zionists” as “murderers.”

On the street outside the United Nations Thursday, scores of activists protested the Iranian Islamic regime and its widely suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.

A U.S. spokesman slammed Mr. Ahmadinejad’s talk as “abhorrent and delusional.”

“Rather than representing the aspirations and goodwill of the Iranian people, Mr. Ahmadinejad has yet again chosen to spout vile conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic slurs that are as abhorrent and delusional as they are predictable,” said Mark Kornblau, spokesman for the U.S. mission at the United Nations.

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