Ahmadinejad Doesn't Back Down

Iran defends September 11 terrorist claims

IRAN'S President has defended his remarks at the United Nations in which he claimed most people in the world believed the US was behind the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

He also challenged the UN to set up a commission to study the attacks.

"I did not pass judgment, but don't you feel that the time has come to have a fact-finding committee?" Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asked during a news conference in a New York hotel.  He also lashed out at the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as an overreaction to the attacks: "The Americans should not occupy the entire Middle East . . . bomb wedding parties . . . annihilate an entire village just because one terrorist is hiding there." 

Ahmadinejad's remarks during a speech to the UN General Assembly prompted a walkout by the US diplomats.

Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the entire European Union followed the Americans out.

"And particularly for him to make the statement here in Manhattan...where families lost their loved ones, people of all faiths, all ethnicities who see this as the seminal tragedy of this generation.

"For him to make a statement like that was inexcusable."


Mr Ahmadinejad routinely makes incendiary remarks, which the West claims are a diversion from international pressure on Tehran to end uranium enrichment and prove it is not trying to build a nuclear weapon.

Iran insists it is enriching uranium only to fuel nuclear reactors to generate electricity.

Iran is under four sets of UN Security Council sanctions as punishment for its failure to make its nuclear ambitions transparent.

The Iranian leader said during the news conference he thought it would be able to reopen contact next month to set a framework for negotiations with the five permanent members of the Security Council - the US, Britain, France, Russia and China - as well as Germany.