In a suprisingly toned-down eighth and final address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for a "new order" to guide global management and international cooperation.
The usual barbs were not absent from Ahmadinejad's speech, though they were far less frequent than has been the case in previous addresses, and his vitriol at a lower level than in recent days. From what this reporter could tell watching the UN's video stream, there didn't even appear to be a mass walkout by assembly members.
However, neither the US nor Israel attended Ahmadinejad's address, the Telegraph reported. Erin Pelton, spokesman of the US mission to the UN, said that the US made the decision not to be present for the Iranian leader's remarks because they were being delivered on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, according to the Telegraph.
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In translated remarks, Ahmadinejad mentioned "Zionists" only once, and never named Israel, in spite of his inflammatory comments earlier this week. He emphasized instead the damage allegedly caused by self-interested capitalism and attempts at dominance waged by the world's "self-proclaimed powers," who have "entrusted themselves to the devil."
Without naming names, he also claimed that Iran's nuclear program is being used as an excuse by outside powers to threaten the country with military intervention.
After mentioning that “poverty is on the rise and the gap is widening between the rich and the poor,” Ahmadinejad went on to make an apparent reference to the Occupy Wall Street movement, as well as economic upheaval in Europe. In the United States and Europe, he said, the voices of the masses "are not heard, even if they constitute 99 percent of the society."
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Problems of the current "order," according to Ahmadinejad, include economies dependent on "exploitation" that benefit only a few — “Poverty is on the rise and the gap is widening between the rich and the poor” — as well as "hegemonic powers" intimidating other countries, environmental destruction (again, a problem of capitalism, he said), and materialism that is "in no way bound to moral values."
The Iranian leader's complaints about the old order, however, were more precise than his plans for the new. His broad proposals included restructuring the UN — including the Security Council — and equality of all people under the law.
The UN General Assembly is in session in New York this week for high-level meetings among world leaders. Watch Ahmadinejad's speech in full below: