Flags at the UN in Geneva (Photo by lilivanili, available at Flickr).

April 22, 2009

Iranian Media Reaction to Ahmadinejad's UN Speech

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at the United Nations Durban Review Conference on Racism on April 20, 2009. While Ahmadinejad’s speech drew negative reactions worldwide, the speech generated positive coverage in Iran. Members of Iran’s parliament issued a supportive joint statement alongside other congratulatory remarks, a Tehran city council member offered support for the speech, several newspapers wrote favorable editorials, while some commentators from the general public on an Iranian newspaper website wished that Ahmadinejad would pay similar attention to domestic, economic priorities.

o    Vice President Mashayi, the father of Ahmadinejad’s daughter-in-law: "There was a time when Iran hardly participated at international summits and was mostly forced to leave the scene. But today the President of Iran participates at a very important international summit, it is others who leave the scene and there are some who claim it is us who have become isolated…?!"

o    "210 members of the Islamic Consultative Assembly [the Iranian parliament] in a declaration expresses support for Ahmadinejad."

o    First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Mohammad-Hassan Abou-Torabi-Fard: "Iran's decisive position in anti-racist Durban II shows the exceptional success and excellence of the Islamic Republic of Iran in explanation of inhumane foundations of the world order."

o    Economics Committee Chairman of the Parliament Mesbahi Moghaddam: "Many governments and nations have considered and do consider Iran's position has justice seeking."

o    Parliamentarian Mohammad-Karim Shahrzad: "Words of the President in the Geneva Summit which is being broadcasted through the international networks will awaken the nations in the future."

o    Parliamentarian Ali Mottahari: "This must be considered a great victory for the Islamic Republic of Iran. I praise the performance and positions of Ahmadinejad in the face of the Zionist regime."

o    National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Chairman of the Parliament Ala al-Din Boroujerdi: "Ahmadinejad's speech at the Swiss Durban Summit was brave and will generate great happiness."

o    Parliamentarian Mehdi Kouchakzadeh: "This is a source of great pride for us. I proudly declare that I am ready to serve as a janitor for such a President."

o    Social Affairs Committee member of the Parliament Ali Mir-Khalili: "This issue, like previous issues in international affairs ended to our benefit and once again the supporters of imperialism were defeated."

o    Parliamentarian Hassan Vanayi: "The Iranian nation is proud of such bravery and boldness of the President."

o    Member of the National Security and Foreign Policy of the Parliament Mahmoud Ahmadi Bi-Ghash: "The Geneva Summit became an opportunity to present and stabilize the position of the Islamic Republic regime."

o    Ayatollah Hossein Nouri-Hamedani: "Bravery of Ahmadinejad at these summits is praiseworthy."

o    Ayatollah Seyyed Ahmad Khatami: "The words of Mr. Ahmadinejad showed that Iran is the vanguard of the fight against racism."

o    Professor Seyyed Hamid Mowlana: "Deeds of the President at the Geneva summit were brave and his presence is the sign of Iranian and Islamic thought and culture entering the global arena."

o    Islamic Motalefeh Faction Secretary General Mohammad-Nabi Habibi: "Brave positions of the President against crimes of the racists of the Zionist regime is a source of pride for us."

o    Islamic Moetalefeh Faction Deputy Secretary General: "With his politeness Ahmadinejad gave a lesson of love to the entire world and presented the lessons he himself had learned from the Imam [Khomeini] and the Supreme Leader."

o    Deputy Communications and Information Chief of the President's Office Mohammad-Ja'far Mohammadzadeh: "At the summit venue it was very clear who has been isolated."

o    Resalat editor Mohammad Anbar-Loui: "Clear, straight and illuminating statements of the President made the audience punish the insulting Zionists."

o    Deputy Representative of the Supreme Leader in the Revolutionary Guards Hojjat al-Eslam Mojtaba Zolnour: "The planners behind last night's events for which they had planned for some time received a decisive answer from the majority of the public."

o    "Second of Khordad-Brothers [the Khatami supporters] who criticize Ahmadinejad for his aggressive and powerful speech in Geneva should not forget that Iran, with its 5000 years civilization, is the inheritor of great empires and vast lands and the people of such a land do not accept that the great powers of today treat them as a pawn...

o    “It was expected from the Western media that they should be angry and unpleased with Mr. Ahmadinejad's speech, but why have the reformist media and reformist candidates joined the chorus of Zionist media?”

o    “If they think that the Iranian nation prefers humility towards the aliens and that [propagating] such ideas are ideal for election propaganda purposes they are badly mistaken.”

o    “Everyone whose heart beats for the name of Iran will never exchange Iran's independence and dignity with humility and misery in front of the foreigners.”

  • Commentators wrote into the Alef News Agency's website:

o    "I accept your argument, but I wish that Mr. Ahmadinejad who thinks so much of the Holocaust would think more about inflation, corruption, and the like.”

o    "Ahmadinejad has a thousand flaws, but he has also one advantage which is that in the face of the Westerners he bullies, and does not pay protection money. To be honest, I support the reformists, but I didn't like Mousavi and Karrubi's statements against the Geneva speech."

o    "I wish Ahmadinejad would become a Foreign Minister and would leave the government to an economist."

o    "Please do excuse me, but Iran's greatness should also be reflected in an Iranian passport. If Mr. Ahmadinejad is a real player he should tell the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Police not to humiliate Iranians like Indians and the Bangladeshis at their airports."

o    "Is it really not enough insult against dignity of Iranians that had Mr. Ahamdinejad not been introduced to the public as the president of Iran the audience would have guessed he was from any country but Iran! He did not mention Iran a single time, but spoke of all other countries!"

o    "I wish the popular President would have shown as forceful a position towards those who are guilty of inflation in Iran."

  • (E) Lebanese Hezbollah praises President Ahmadinejad for his remarks at the Durban II conference.
  • The Tehran Times called the walkout during Ahmadinejad’s speech “efforts to interrupt the president’s speech by a few attendees planted by Israel,” in coverage of a statement from Iran’s parliamentarians that supported Ahmadinejad’s speech. Two hundred and ten of Iran’s 290 Majlis members signed the statement, which included statements like:

o    “Durban II is held at a time that the human community has not forgotten the Zionist regime’s genocide and the massacre of women and children in the Gaza. Unfortunately, the president of the United States who has taken office with the change motto, and the international organizations such as the United Nations Security Council has undertaken no preventive measures in face of these crimes.” and

o    “Under such circumstances, a man from the Islamic and revolutionary Iran… has attended the conference and has uncovered the appalling face of the modern criminals including the Zionist regime and its supporters. We, as representatives of the Iranian nation in the Majlis, announce our all-out support for the firm and committed stance of the president.”

o    See the full report at http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=192814

  • Presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi commented "insults against Ahmadinejad in Geneva": "This discussion encompasses two dimensions. The first is the deplorable treatment our President as the symbol of the nation and the state has been subjected to which is a source of grief to any free man and we protest against it. The other dimension is that one should truly complain about why the advisors of the President do not advice him on what scenes to expect and why predictions are not made so insult against the Islamic Republic and the nation can be avoided?...Such things should not be repeated. Why have we the diplomatic establishment in this country with such magnitude? I really think there is a problem..." http://www.agahsazi.com/article.asp?id=3137&cat=4
  • Tehran Islamic City Council member Morteza Talayi supported Ahmadinejad's performance in Durban II Summit in Geneva and claims "[Ahmadinejad] the artist awakened the sleepy spectators with his call for justice..." http://alef.ir/1388/content/view/44315/
  • At the time First Vice Speaker of the Parliament Abou-Torabi-Fard thanked Ahmadinejad's "anti-Zionist speech" at Durban II Summit in Geneva the parliamentarians started shouting "Death to Israel" while others shouted: "Dowlat-e Enghelabi, Tashakkor, Tashakkor!" [Revolutionary Government, Thank You, Thank You!]. http://alef.ir/1388/content/view/44225/
  • Alef News Agency praised the "iconoclastic speech" of Ahmadinejad at the Durban II Summit in Geneva. A wave of Alef's readers commended Ahmadinejad's performance. http://alef.ir/1388/content/view/44202/
  • International affairs "expert" Hojjat al-Eslam Ghasem Ravanbakhsh said "the epic of [Ahmadinejad's speech at] Columbia [University] was repeated in Geneva." Ravanbakhsh also said Ahmadinejad's speech and the "insolent reactions to it" resembled the speech of then President Ali Khamenei, the current Supreme Leader, at the United Nations General Assembly. http://www.asriran.com/fa/pages/?cid=70221

Please see the background behind the walkout at the Durban Conference here.

Please see the latest Iran News Roundups, the last two of which provided most of the body for this document, here.