UNITED NATIONS — The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, issued a series of incendiary comments in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday afternoon, noting in particular that some people believe the United States orchestrated the Sept. 11 attacks as part of a propaganda campaign to “reverse the declining American economy” and to “save the Zionist regime,” meaning Israel.
He also lambasted the world’s nuclear powers for trying to halt Iran’s own nuclear program.
The General Assembly, an annual gathering of world leaders, started formally on Thursday with more than 30 presidents, kings and other heads of state scheduled to speak. Mr. Ahmadinejad’s comments, made just a few dozen blocks from the World Trade Center site, prompting a walkout by representatives of the United States, 27 European nations, the European Union, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Costa Rica.
He has said in less public circumstances that the Sept. 11 attacks were “a big fabrication” used “as a pretext for the campaign against terrorism and a prelude for staging an invasion against Afghanistan.”