Iran: Diplomats walk out at Ahmadinejad's speech

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today made headlines once more, when he referred to Israel as a “racist state” during a address at United Nations conference on racism in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates from several European nations walked out of the conference in protest at Ahmadinejad's remark.

Jomhour has published the following video showing the diplomats’ departure:

Commentators have drawn parallels between this incident and the speech the Iranian president gave at Columbia University in New York in 2007.

Ghommar says Iranians have once again been humiliated in front of the world community their president. He writes [fa]:

رئیس‌جمهوری که در کشورش هر روزه شاهد نقض گسترده‌ی حقوق‌بشر هستیم …زنان از کوچک‌ترین حقوق انسانی که لباس پوشیدن است محروم هستند و در زندان‌های آن پر از زندانبان عقیدتی و سیاسی است..، خیلی خنده‌دار و تلخ است که در سازمان ملل از نژادپرستی و نقض حقوق‌بشر در کشورهای دیگر حرفی بزند

It is a very ridiculous and bitter thing that a president who in his own country witnesses a high number of human rights violations… where women are deprived of the most basic rights such as [choosing] their own clothes, and prisons are full of political and ideological prisoners… talks about racism and human rights violations of other UN countries.

Zarehbin says [fa] the scene where different delegates left the conference shows how much we are hated in the world. “What a poor nation we are that this bum [Ahmadinejad] is our president…while a regime repressed Bahai's and others in Iran how can support Palestanians’ rights.”


  • Thanks for the article Hamid!
    I wonder what the general consensus is in Iran – supportive or not of Ahmadinejad’s speech??
    Does his parliament support his words? How common is Zarehbin’s opinion within Iran??

    … currently working on getting Hebrew perspectives on this…

    • Hi Gilad, Thanks for comment. 1-There are many Iranians even among political personalities who consider Ahmadinejad’s obssesion with Holocaust shameful. recently Mehdi Karubi, candidate for presidential election and former Speaker of Iranian Parliament said Holocaust is a reality. Former President Khatami mentioned it years ago. 2-I think Ahmadinejad makes more friends in Arab world rather than Iran. 3-Saying this does not mean that Ahmadinejad is the only one who denies Holocaust in Iran but there are in my opinion are a small minority both in Iran and in establishment. But you never should ignore them.4-I would like to insist that most of Iranians make a clear difference between Holocaust and Israel’s government(s) actions/wars against Palestinians and Arabs…

    • please see a blog posting on how Iranians are sick of Ahmadinejad’s diversion to Israel and pandering to Arab support at:

  • MERC

    While I fully agree with those Iranians opposed to the crimes and restrictions of their own brand of theocracy, it has to recognised that when Ahmadinejad calls (for whatever reason) that other Middle Eastern theocracy/ethnocracy, Israel, “a totally racist government in occupied Palestine,” he is 100% correct. Lament the hypocrisy of the speaker by all means, but not his message.

    • Hear hear! Any state that systematically denies citizenship based on race or religion is inherently racist (or whatever-ist). That includes Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the vast majority of the Arab world, and I’m sure a few other places if I were to truly dig into this one.

      ALL theocracies are wrong, yet the west chooses to ignore Israel based on some combination of fear and pity.

      • Ernesto

        More like religiosity and idealism. American supporters of Israel are either a) fundamentalist christian or b) see Israel for something its not. They either feel god’s will is on the side of the Israelites in Jerusalem…or that the enemies of Israel are no good, and thus Israel must be given a pass.

        Both views are woefully ignorant of the fact that Israel has a particularly active trigger finger…especially with guns aimed at palestinians.

      • //the vast majority of the Arab world,//

        apart from the gulf states; can you please give examples of the vast majority of arab countries that denies citizenships on the basis of religion or race?

  • […] Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is sadly not exactly the best poster boy for human rights. As one Iranian blogger said after his speech in Geneva: […]

  • Asylumseeker

    His speech at Geneva conference was simply bold truth. The magnitude of it was too much for them. In fact it was so much and bold that self-righteous and hypocrite British diplomats with their European colleagues had to leave the room… After all, who controls Banks in Europe and US? what about media?

    Don’t tell me that the World hate Iran… just because of some pathetic diplomats.. There were many more remaining in the room and applauding Iranian leader.

    • Ernesto

      And I assure you none of them hold Human Rights in very high esteem. Say what you will about the US, Britain, or Israel, but those who were “applauding” the Iranian leader are far worse.

      Such is the nature of an imperfect system. Any reasonable human being would understand that. But you see perfection in tyranny. You revel in theocratic thuggery. And you lack any sense of irony. No free men, and certainly no free women, live in Iran. Lecture on Human Rights? Ha.

    • It seems I would be called a Racist because I do not allow people to smoke on my property, does it not?

      However I have good cause not to allow people to smoke on my property.

      No 1 – I watched BOTH my Parents die slowly from the effects of Emphysema

      No 2 – I have mild Emphysema and to smoke hurts me

      No 3 – To inhale others smoke hurts me

      No 4 – I don’t want to watch other Family and Friends die of Emphysema

      I say again – Because I don’t allow Smoking on my property, am I a racist?

      Twisting the meaning of words to make a point is called spin doctoring in this country and many others.

      Spin doctoring is a dying art due to many seeing thru it.

      Careful that you are not being drawn by Spin Doctoring rather than truth.

      Thanks for the opertunity for debate

      Onward – Jim

  • Chynna

    Very Interesting…Can anyone tell me, how accurate is the English translation in the posted clip?

  • Dpip

    As leader of a country pursuing nuclear weapons, Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric makes his country an easy target. I can only assume that he desires confrontation. He would not do it unless it served his long-term interests. The question to ask is, what are his interests?

  • Israel is a vibrant democracy that grants equal rights to all its citizens, drawn from over 100 countries worldwide. Yet the Durban II conference
    in Geneva seeks to once again single out Israel for condemnation as a “racist” state. This only justifies Israel’s added role as a safe haven for Jews from the vicious anti-Semites represented in Geneva this week.

    Onward – Jim

    • Jim,

      I suggest you do some research on the status of Palestinians within their country before you make such horribly incorrect statements.

      Israel grants democratic rights to Jews only. Unfortunately, there happen to be 5 million Palestinians within Israel’s grasp who do not share those rights (Christian and Muslim), and another 3 million Palestinians lingering in squalor in neighbouring countries.

      Once Israel extends its democratic rights to ALL of the inhabitants of historic Palestine, then we can truly say it is a democratic state.

      Until then, it’s just another racist apartheid that deserves to be as harshly condemned on the international stage as the white South African government.

    • Gaya

      The holaucoast took place: fine, it’s a fact.
      Many massacres took place and are still taking place against palestenians: also a fact but overlooked because obviously these are 2d degree humans.
      Israel is a promise land, the borders never defined, never existed, according to the torat and jewish beleifs god is to establish it and not some highly rich jewish business men who bought the land of palestine from another english politician (promise of belfor-1927) and then kicked out all the inhbitants of those lands and terrorized the surrounding.
      If the german mistreated jews in WWII well then the jewish should take it out on the german not on the paletinians.
      -Israel is a racist country : dig deep – in Israel there are seperate rules and regulations : 1st degree rules for jewish citizens(european migrants) and 2d degree rules for jewish Arabs and other religions-etnithities… if that is not discrimination – I don’t know what is . The rest of the world shouldn’t turn a blind eye to what’s happening on the other side of the equation just under the pretext of hating muslims and or Arabs and this in itself is another form of discrimination.
      -Israel has nuclear power how come no one attacks that how come only the USA and israel are allowed to develope nuclears and when Iran does the whole world is against it? Is Israel not a threat to its surrounding countries? or only Iran is since the majority of the population are muslim? I don’t like the iranian president, I don’t like religion based systems: islam (saudi – Iran etc) – Jewish (israel) etc… but justice should be applied and israel condemned for all the atrocities we have seen from it but too bad you don’t see that since your media is so biased and you’re just too careless to dig deeper…
      I deny the existence of Israel and its right to exist because it was imposed and set by force on a palestinian land, I do not however deny the right of jews to be in this part of the land as part of the palestenian state or the Lebanese state or the Syrian or the Jordanian or the Egyptian state all of which Israel has dominated a peace of their land and claimed it jewish/israeli .. appologies zionists but your land will always be a promise land and whether it’s today or in a 100 years the hate you are planting in the youth of all the countries you have unmercifuly abolished and attacked will turn back against you…Israel is only wonder its leaders always hide behind european pity and guilt – Europeans GET OVER IT you killed them burned them bla bla bla now they’re doing the same so CONDEMN THEM if you have enough sense of justice or maybe the jewish lobby and all your financial interests condradict justice and the right to defend the weak?

      • jerry

        i can see your point of view as an american i to feel its a double standard but the real problem is hate and yes we have fuled it as well with our actions as well but to me it should be easy to understand that iran hates israel and they have openly expressed wiping them off the map and if they were to put together a nuke they would with out a doubt use it because of thier own hatred and yes i know all about the usa using it on japan in ww2 and i dont agree with it but you have to admit japan with out provacation attacked america and killed thousands but a nuke in the hands of people filled with hate is not a good thing for anyone we will not use nukes to kill a nation simply because we dont like them however iran dont feel that way and think of the muslums that would be effected by the radiation fall out in surrounding areas i’m quite sure the hate filled iranians arent thinking that far ahead and btw why hasn’t israel used thier nukes? i’ll tell you because if for no other reason they dont want to trigger a world war. where would any of us be if that happened dead or not far from it and if we kill everybody- first of all you have to ask yourself who wins the anwser to that is nobody were all dead so secondly you have to ask whats it all for?in the end nothing and it’s all going on because of hate. just my opinion- let god pass judgement thats not up to us as a matter of fact i believe god will condem those who decided to take these matters into thier own hands because those who do that are going aginst his word and are acting out thier own view of what they think god wants wont they be surprised when instead of praise the get sent to hell for disgracing his word

    • Jim,

      please look up anti-Semitism in a dictionary before you start throwing the charge around. Arabs are Semites too FYI

    • Manuel Fox

      OK, we’re gonna have a World Conference on Racism, apartheid, etc… Whatever you do though, don’t mention Israel !! AHahahha… Jim you make me laugh. You might find this interesting ( Well, you won’t..CLEARLY, but others might.) In order to assess and review any progress made since the last conference in Durban in 2001, Palestinian human rights organisations planned several side events that were to take place within the schedule of the conference. They planned “Side events” because any discussion on Israel’s actions in Palestine were to be excluded from the formal framework of this years Durban Anti-Racism Review Conference in Geneva. Can you believe that !! ‘Israel-Palestine’ was DELIBERATELY ELIMINATED from this years official programme, structured by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for HUMAN RIGHTS. BADIL ( A resource centre for palestinian residency and refugees’ rights ) and the other NGOs, undettered, had organised a side-event specifically about how and why they see Israel as a “regime of institutionalised racial discrimination on both sides of the Green Line.” The UN High Commissioner’s office called BADIL’s representative in Geneva into a meeting at the UN, and verbally informed her that all side-events pertaining to the specific issue of Palestine and Israel had been banned.
      At this years conference,there are particular recommendations for victims of HIV/AIDS, for victims of slave trade, Roma people, people of African descent, side-events focusing on indigenous rights, women’s rights, the link between racism and poverty, etc. There is not a single reference to Palestine, Palestinians or Israel at the conference. Or at least there wasn’t supposed to be. The French warned Ahmedinejad that if he mentioned Israel they would walk out. He did, and I was glad to see that the clowns and cowards left the hall. It was preferable than to have them sit there with there fingers in their ears, shouting “La la la la la la I’m not listening to you.”
      The sounds of the clapping majority of the nations present somehow rendered the theatrical walk out of the nine compromised nations a very hollow gesture, bereft of any credibility. Looks like free speech is OK as long as it only applies to unquestioning support of the ETHNIC CLEANSING of the Palestinian’s. And Jim !! as far as charges of Anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and the likes….these meaningless noises have long ceased to be of any relevance. They are lazy smear tactics jewish nationalists use in the face of any opposition to their unreasonable, and racist “ideology” of jewish superiority over the Palestinians.
      Of course all the usual suspects, France, England, Italy the U.S, the Vatican, and the others that have given Israel “Carte Blanche” to commit attrocities..are all out in force, condemning ‘Ahmahdinejads’ speech as “Anti-Semitic”, as “Hate speech” , I heard the speech (it’s available on the UN’s site in the form of a webcast ) and sure I don’t agree with everything, eg that the Holocaust was a pretext, is not exactly true. The Zionists had been promised a home of their own for some time prior. (To be honest there is so much historical information available freely on the internet and in libraries in the form of BOOKS. That you should do the research for yourself, listen to the speech and draw you own conclusions.) Whether you agree or not with the various parts of the speech, all these overt reactions, with tiny sound bites from heads of state like “Anti-Semitic”, “Vile”,”Hate-speech ” etc, and the way it has taken over mainstream media is propaganda against Ahmadinejad, and against free speech, Surely.
      Ok..So let me get this is now Anti-Semitic to call the completely unreasonable and (Internationally recognised) Illegal Israeli REGIME inside Palestinian borders (The borders of ’67) “racist” . It is now “racist” to call racist’s “racist” ?? What the hell is going on? I thought it was our Responsibility to Condemn the Israeli regime in Palestine, As it is our responsibilty to condemn every human rights abuses, and yes that INCLUDES Iran and many others. However Irans human rights abuses ‘pale in comparison’ to 60 years of illegal occupation and the HORRENDOUS effects it has had on the Palestinians and to a lesser degree (but no less horrendous) Innocent Israelis. All with the “Usual Suspect’s” blessing. And yet here they are ;Bernard Kouchner, Peter Gooderham, Navi Pillay, Jonas Gahr Store, The Vatican and the rest, so quick to denounce and villify Ahmadinejads speech, more vehemently i noticed than they denounced the recent attrocities in Gaza. Why is that ? methinks it might be
      1. To deflect attention from the actual message the Iranian president was trying to make.
      2. Because they are cowards. I believe that very successful politicians are very often just career driven, ego maniacs who fit in perfectly with “big business” and “big banking” plans and who understand that it makes more sense ‘career wise’ to be pro-Israel than Anti – Israeli’s occupying regime.

  • Nice post, Hamid.

    Durban II is a joke filled with remarkable irony.

    The proponents of human rights and democracy, the West, continue to sensationally ignore the blatant racist and apartheid policies of Israel.

    Yet, a theocratic state with an abominable human rights record in Iran is lecturing the world on racism in Israel/Palestine.

    There was nothing actually incorrect about Ahmedinejad’s statements, but it indeed points out the irony and hypocrisy of international affairs on all sides.

    Unfortunately, the bickering in Geneva makes little difference to the Palestinian suffering.

  • ella


    There are palestinian arabs (called Israeli Arabs) who are citizens of Israel, there are also some political arab parties in Knesset. As far as I know israeli arabs have the same rights as all other citizens of Israel.
    But what Jim Bailey wrote is not exactly true – Israel grants equal right to all its citizens – true, but its citizens from 100 or so countries he mentions belong to one and the same religion.

    Asylum seeker

    You mean that is true?
    “Following the World War Two, they [the West? Security Council members?] resorted to military aggression to make an entire nation homeless, on the pretext of Jewish sufferings and the ambiguous and the dubious question of holocaust. [sic] They sent migrants from Europe, the United States and from other parts of the world to establish a totally racist government in the occupied Palestine”
    Tell me why Poland decided to skip Durban II – is it not because the Nazi crimes against poles, jews and others were done on the territory of conquered Poland and we still have families (Polish not Jewish) who lived during WWII and know that Ahmadinejad lies.

    Hamid Tehrani

    Mehdi Karubi and Khatami are reformists. What do you think of other candidates’ view on this matter – say Mohsen Rezae or Pour Mohammadi?

    • Manuel Fox

      Hi Ella, I just wanted to point out that, Yes like you say
      “There are palestinian arabs (called Israeli Arabs) who are citizens of Israel,” However they are not treated like equal citizens. There are thousands of reports pertaining to this. Many of which have to do with house re-appropriation. I invite you to do the research. Start with Palestinian NGO’s.
      ” there are also some political arab parties in Knesset.” Here’s an article from Ha’aretz dated 7 february 2009. it gives a little insight into the Knesset during the recent elections
      “As far as I know israeli arabs have the same rights as all other citizens of Israel.”
      I’m glad you say “As far as I know”, because, well.. let’s be honest, you don’t know do you ?!

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