Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Ahmadinejad Nears Last UN Speech: Expect a Doozy

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Ahmadinejad Nears Last UN Speech: Expect a Doozy

Article excerpt

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad takes his final bow at the United Nations this week, and hes likely to go out more like a lion than a lamb.

The global provocateur may be winding up his second and final term as president in dispute with Irans supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and held in low esteem by the Iranian public as Irans economy falters under tough international sanctions.

But if his first comments after landing in New York for this weeks UN General Assembly are any indication, Mr. Ahmadinejad can be expected to outrage again when he speaks Wednesday from the UN podium.

Speaking to reporters Monday, Ahmadinejad dismissed Israel as having no roots in [Middle Eastern] history and ridiculed Israels threats to launch air strikes against Irans nuclear facilities. We do not take seriously the threats of the Zionists, he said. We have all the defensive means at our disposal, and we are ready to defend ourselves.

Prospects for surprise Israeli military action against Iran have roiled US-Israel relations in recent weeks, with President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly disputing whether its time for military action. Some foreign policy experts predict Israel will reluctantly wait until after US elections for clearer support from the US. In the meantime, they say, Ahmadinejad is using the threat of attack to trot out his trademark bravado while trying to boost his standing at home.

On the international stage, Ahmadinejad continues to present himself as the defender of a new world order that would give emerging powers and in particular Muslim counties their due. Earlier this month, he hosted a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran. …

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