September 27, 2012 - 10:45 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - European delegates got an unusual reprieve at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Sept 26, when the Iranian President offered them no reason to get up and walk out, a move that has become a bit of tradition for western delegations, CNN reports.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a history of controversial statements, but in his eighth and final appearance in front of the assembly's iconic green marble podium his tone seemed to shift from blustery to almost conciliatory.
He said Iran was committed to peace, though he also accused world powers of double standards in pursuing an arms race.
Ahmadinejad then told delegates that Iran has a "global vision and welcomes any effort intended to provide and promote peace, stability and tranquility" in the world.
The world is at a "historic juncture" now that Marxist systems are virtually gone and "capitalism is bogged down in a self-made quagmire," he said, which could allow for other nations to "play a more active role" in global decision making.
However, the seats set aside for the U.S. delegation were empty as he spoke. The Canadian delegation also did not attend the speech, and Israel's representatives were absent in observance of Yom Kippur.
"Over the past couple of days, we've seen Mr. Ahmadinejad once again use his trip to the UN not to address the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people, but to instead spout paranoid theories and repulsive slurs against Israel," said Erin Pelton, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.
Earlier this week, the Iranian leader stoked controversy at the session when he declared that Israel has "no roots" in the Middle East.
But on Wednesday he offered a more subdued discourse, after being widely expected to serve up a rebuttal to a series of sharp jabs from Western leaders, who accused him of fostering instability in the region by backing international militants, supporting Syria's embattled president and forging ahead with its nuclear program.
Still, Ahmadinejad managed to draw American ire with generalized comments about its election spending as well as with comments about inequality of UN leadership.
He also told delegates that the body should be restructured, noting that many global issues are the result of poor management, and that "self-proclaimed centers of power ... have entrusted themselves to the devil."
An "arms race and intimidation by nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction by the hegemonic powers have become prevalent," he added, noting that Iran has now found itself under threat.
"Continued threat by the uncivilized Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation is a clear example of this bitter reality," he said. "A state of mistrust has cast its shadow on the international relations, while there is no trusted or just authority to help resolve world conflicts."