Ahmadinejad Suggests 9/11 Was U.S. Plot to "Save Zionism"
- Ahmadinejad suggests 9/11 attacks were intended to "save Zionist regime"
- Iranian leader, who backs Hamas, Hezbollah, proposes conference on terrorism
- Obama says Iran cannot demonstrate its nuclear program is peaceful
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 23 – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, well-known for denying the Holocaust, used his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday to suggest that elements within the U.S. government were behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The U.S. delegation walked out of the hall as Ahmadinejad – standing just a few miles from the site of Ground Zero – mocked the memories of the roughly 3,000 people who died on 9/11.
There is no dispute that al Qaeda carried out the attack. Its leaders boasted of doing so and numerous investigations have reconstructed in minute detail how the operations were planned and executed.
Still, the Iranian leader put forward his own three theories of the attack. First, that a powerful terrorist group was behind it; second, 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 also to save the Zionist regime.
"The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree with this view," Ahmadinejad said.
The third explanation was that the attacks were "carried out by a terrorist group but the American government supported and took advantage of the situation."
The Iranian leader launched his usual diatribe against Israel, which he blamed for many of the ills in the world, but broke little new ground in this part of his speech.
He said he would convene a conference on terrorism next year. The U.S. State Department has for years identified Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism. Iran arms and finances Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon which have stockpiled tens of thousands of rockets and missiles to fire at Israeli civilians. Iran also provides weapons and training to other groups worldwide.
Ahmadinejad also proclaimed he was in favor of a nuclear weapons-free world. The United Nations has passed four rounds of sanctions against Iran for hiding what most governments believe is an active, ongoing program to build nuclear weapons.
In his speech earlier to the General Assembly, U.S. President Barack Obama said: "Iran is the only party to the NPT (non-proliferation treaty) that has not demonstrated the peaceful intentions of its nuclear program."