By Edith M. Lederer Associated Press
UNITED NATIONS — Iran’s president called Israel a nuclear-armed “fake regime” shielded by the United States, prompting Israel’s U.N. ambassador to walk out of a high-level U.N. meeting Monday promoting the rule of law.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also accused the U.S. and others of misusing freedom of speech and failing to speak out against the defamation of people’s beliefs and “divine prophets,” an apparent reference to the recently circulated amateur video made in the U.S. which attacks Islam and denigrates the Prophet Muhammad.
The Iranian leader, who has called for Israel’s destruction, used his speech to denounce Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and U.S. vetoes in the U.N. Security Council to back its ally. He urged all nations to “hold occupiers accountable and make efforts to return the occupied territories to their rightful owners.”
Ahmadinejad blamed the “discriminatory” veto power of the U.S., China, Russia, Britain and France for the Security Council’s failure to ensure peace in the world, and he called for a change in the rules “in favor of nations with due regard to justice.”
As Ahmadinejad addressed leaders and ministers from more than 100 countries, Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor walked out of the General Assembly hall.
“Ahmadinejad showed again that he not only threatens the future of the Jewish people, he seeks to erase our past,” Prosor said in a statement.
“Three thousand years of Jewish history illustrate the clear danger of ignoring fanatics like Iran’s President, especially as he inches closer to acquiring nuclear weapons,” he said. “Those who ignore his hateful words today, will bear responsibility for his deeds tomorrow.”
The U.S. delegation did not walk out of Monday’s meeting, as it has in the past when Iran attacked Israel directly.