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Iran: Ahmadinejad's Speech at Columbia University

Iranian President,Mahmoud Ahmadineajd’s speech at Columbia University in New York and university president Lee C. Bollinger’s criticism and tough words during his introduction remarks on Monday 24 September have become a hot topic in media throughout the world. Several Iranian and American bloggers have reacted to the incident. NikAhang Kosar,a leading cartoonist and blogger, has published several cartoons on this subject.

Dave Burdick and a few other students at Columbia University launched a blog named “Ahmadinejad at Columbia” to aggregate coverage of the event. The blog has published several photos of protesters demonstrating against Ahmadinejad’s visit to Columbia.

“No Homosexuals in Iran”

In the Ahmadinejad at Columbia blog we read:

some students believed that by visiting Columbia, the Holocaust denier only gained airtime, and not additional supporters of his questionable views. According to a biomedicine student, Ahmadinejad would have “come out clean” and “been able to manipulate, kind of, the general liberal views of a lot of the people on campus” had he avoided his denial of homosexuals in Iran and of the Holocaust. Others focused on the Iranian leader's ability to answer evasively. “He squirted a lot of the questions, but he did what every politician does so I don’t have less or more respect [for him] than I would for Bush or Cheney,” said Mehmet Bozatli, a twenty-nine-year-old student from Turkey. As revealed during today’s forum, the president of Iran believes that there are no gay people in his country. “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country,” he said, eliciting both laughter and gasps from the audience.

Iranian Truth says that Ahmadinejad apparently hasn’t watched the CBC special entitled Inside Iran’s Secret Gay World.

No Freedom of Speech for us

Karim Orghandehpour, blogger and journalist, says [Fa] that the government media has launched a propaganda campaign about the opportunity given to Ahmadinejad to speak at one of the most famous universities of the world, and they defend his right to freedom of speech. The blogger asks why some Iranian academics aren't accorded similar rights in Iran. He also asks why some organisations are deprived of the right to publish newspapers.

View from Iran writes

he promised yesterday to invite professors and students at Columbia to Iran to say whatever they want to say. Why doesn't he make that same offer to Iranian professors and students? Hearing him talking about lack of democracy and human rights in the west is just another way of avoiding the realities in Iran. Mr. President, Iranians are dying for basic human rights and for basic democracy.

Winners and Losers

Ataloha Mahejerani, a former reformist minister, criticized [Fa] Lee Bollinger's remarks about Ahmadinejad and says that he was surprised to hear that Columbia’s President call Iranian president a cruel and petty dictator. Calling Bolliger's words insults, the former minister adds that God wanted this speech to provide a new opportunity for Iran, and that the losers were Israel and Columbia’s president.

Contrary to Mohajerani, Jomhour says [Fa] that it is the Iranian people who are the main losers at the hands of Ahmadnejad’s politics. The blogger asks Mohajerani how many of Americans he thinks believe Ahmadinejad’s claims, adding that the Iranian people feel his lies at a visceral level. Jomhour says that when Mohajerani talks about women’s rights, we should remember the jail sentences imposed upon women activists, and when he mentions academic values, we should remember the students being tortured in Iran.

“USA can become a friend”

Harfeh Hesab says [Fa] that the most important point is Ahmadinejad's message to USA is this: America can become a good friend of Iran.” The blogger adds that the “Iranian President was asked if Iran is ready to negotiate with USA and what are expectations. He answered we think USA can become a good friend of Iran.” Harfeh Hesab writes that it was the most positive message that the Islamic Republic has sent to USA so far.

Angry Cleric

A religious student in Madresyeh Ma wrote [Fa] an open letter to Ahmadinejad and criticized his speech at Columbia. The blogger tells the Iranian president that he may think he was successful at Columbia, but that ihs presence provided an opportunity for Columbia's University president to insult him, which is an insult to all Iranians. He accuses Ahmadinejad of placing his political agenda above respect for his nation. The blogger adds that, contrary to Ahmadinejad's speech, there is no distinction between the USA's government and its people.

16 comments

  • Zyskandar A Jaimot

    ‘GAY DAYS’ in IRAN..

    There once was a man named MAHMOUD
    Who claimed he was quite misunderstood
    IRAN he said has no GAYS
    In AMERICA they exist in capitalist displays
    Women in IRAN are just so free
    We stone them to death if they disagree
    Zionists are the cause of the Palestinians plight
    So we’ll kill all the Jews and make it right
    No nuclear bombs for IRAN
    Our goal to all is just plane
    Combustion of the non-believer infidels
    Sure to be accompanied by IRANI sanctus-bells.

  • George Jacobs

    How many more times are ignorant readers going to accuse the Iranian President of a being a “holacaust denier”? He does admit that it happened as a historial fact but questions why that tragedy has to be used to deny Palestians basic human rights and why the country of Isreal wasn’t formed in Europe instead of the Middle East.

    I am no fan of Iran but please choose your words carefully and don’t quote a person out of ignorance.

  • james willis

    UNFORTUNETLY, YOUR SCHOOL is bias to let a hostage taker speak and not give others their veiws is wrong by basic human respect you will all see your own hypocracy and feel pain as my fam did w/our loss ,. he will send pain and suffering to americans you all should be first to get violated hope to see it happen 2u gutless people ur not tru ams., GEORGE WASHINGTON is turning in his grave… remember irans prez took usa citizens ….now he haz nukes on the horizon 4u softies.

  • james willis

    R.E.S.P.E.C.T. YOUR A GRUOP OF CHEATS, REMEMBER THE MINUTE MAN incedent…u must be on somthing or you like 2pay 4r criminals if u cannot see it your not paying your way thats the respect u give u need to see america is weaker because of hypocracy like your party reps…

  • The ineloquent and unacademical words of introduction by the Columbian host to Iran’s president was unfortunate but probably saved a job. It was a start, however, to something much more important: communications between world powers at odds. This is the reason the USA is behind the eight ball internationally, the lack of communications by the neocon American administration.
    It’s time for a big change, like Bill Clinton as roving ambassador.

  • Dear George Jacobs,Iranian President NEVER accepted Holocaust as a history fact!

  • Kristina Gronquist

    It exhibits the utmost hypocrisy and reflects incomprehensible hubris for a nation that illegally invaded and occupied Iraq, in the process killing tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children in order to steal their oil, to accuse Iran of immorality.

  • John

    We the US are pure. we never toppled Iran Pres. mosaddegh. we never armed and instigated saddam of Iraq to fight iran for eight years…. no we never arm Israel to teeth to fight virtual evreyone in ME. No, we never invaded Iraq . No we are not the “terrorist”. No we never attacked in Afghanistan. No we dont have 5th generation of atomic bombs, no we are not upgrading our nuclear arsenal as we speak.No we never put dictators in South America. No we never created small Afghan children as mujahedeens in Afghanistan to fight our arch-enemy, The Soviet. No we are pure. we are morally superior!

  • Anna

    I would like to thank everyone who commented on these current events. It is a real pleasure to read and understand that citzens of this country speak up and stand up for their beliefs. I would now like to take word space to state that is everyone who has voiced their opinion, be it positive or negative, should be grateful and appreciative of the fact that we are allowed to do so in this country. And another thing, personally I found it very exciting and incredible that the Iranian President was extended an invitation to speak in our country. I am glad that I live in the country that such extraordinary things can happen.

  • Dvid-iran

    in the name of allah

    I am IRAINNIAN.I will happy to American peoples come to
    my country and see our cultures and speak together about
    lovely things for example: peace,fraternity,justice and
    methodical and religious impunity .
    ena the of speech ,I should cofession American peoples
    are wise and intelligent and lovely.

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