Iran's president addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, declaring that “the American empire” is nearing collapse and should end its military involvement in other countries.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said terrorism is spreading quickly in Afghanistan and that “the occupiers” are still in Iraq nearly six years after Saddam Hussein was ousted from power in Iraq.
“The American empire in the world is reaching the end of its road, and its next rulers must limit their interference to their own borders,” Ahmadinejad said.
He accused the U.S. of starting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to win votes in elections and blamed a “few bullying powers” for trying to undermine Iraq's nuclear program.
Ahmadinejad's hard-line rhetoric came as no surprise and offered little in the way of compromise at the U.N., where he faces a new round of sanctions if no agreement is reached on limiting Iran's nuclear capabilities.
While he reiterated that the country's nuclear program is purely peaceful, the U.S. and others fear it is aimed at producing enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons.
Iran already is under three sets of sanctions by the U.N. Security Council for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment. Ahmadinejad also lashed out at Israel on Tuesday, saying “the Zionist regime is on a definite slope to collapse, and there is no way for it to get out of the cesspool created by itself and its supporters.”
His speech came just hours after President Bush made his eighth and final appearance before the U.N. General Assembly, urging the international community to stand firm against the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea.
“A few nations, regimes like Syria and Iran, continue to sponsor terror,” Bush said. “Yet their numbers are growing fewer, and they're growing more isolated from the world. As the 21st century unfolds, some may be tempted to assume that the threat has receded. This would be comforting. It would be wrong. The terrorists believe time is on their side, so they've made waiting out civilized nations part of their strategy.”
At one point during Bush's 22-minute speech, Ahmadinejad turned to Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and gave a thumb's down.