| GEO World|
Ahmadinejad's 9/11 speech sparks US fury
| Updated at: 0321 PST, Friday, September 24, 2010|
UNITED NATIONS: Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked outrage in the United States on Thursday when he told a UN meeting that most people believe the US government staged the September 11 attacks.
He sparked a walkout in the UN General Assembly shortly after US President Barack Obama had offered a negotiated settlement with Iran on its nuclear drive.
The US delegation led an enraged Western walkout after Ahmadinejad's comments on the Al-Qaeda attack on the World Trade Center, which was just four miles (six kilometers) from the UN headquarters. European Union delegations quickly followed.
The Iranian president said there was a theory that "some segments within the US government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East, in order also to save the Zionist regime.
"The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree with this view," he declared to the astonished chamber.
About 3,000 people died in the attacks by Al-Qaeda operatives who hijacked jets and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington and a field in Pennsylvania.
The US mission slammed the Iranian leader in a statement released even before Ahmadinejad had finished speaking.
"Rather than representing the aspirations and goodwill of the Iranian people, Ahmadinejad has yet again chosen to spout vile conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic slurs that are as abhorrent and delusional as they are predictable," said Mark Kornblau, US mission spokesman.
Obama made no public comment but a senior US official said: "The president found the comments to be outrageous and offensive, particularly given how close we are to Ground Zero."
Canada's Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon called Ahmadinejad's comments "a blatant violation of international standards and of the very spirit of the UN."