On Wednesday, September 27, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to New York with a 100 person entourage to address the world community, having just completed hosting a convocation of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Iran. These unaligned nations are those of the Muslim world which have not taken any of several sides in dealing with global issues.
Ahmadinejad’s speech came at a time when the world views attacks from either direction between Iran and Israel as eminently possible. There is speculation that the United States might come to the aid of Israel; there's speculation that a major world war might be initiated.
In spite of all this, the United States delegation to the UN General Assembly chose to follow its usual pattern: refusing to listen. As they have done in the past, the delegation arose and walked out. Apparently, the delegates felt that they already knew what the Iranian president, a wise global philosopher, would say. Having watched news broadcasts and listened to pundits, they felt certain he would lambast Israel and deny developing nuclear weapons, and they just weren’t up to it.
It is true that the Iranian might have said any number of things. For example, he might have used the opportunity to declare war on Israel, or on the world at large. More likely, he might have stressed a peaceful position that would reduce the ever-present possibility of a unilateral attack on his nation by Western powers.
The objective listener must concede that Ahmadinejad is a thoughtful person who speaks easily of peace, beauty, culture, and real world issues. In speaking he addressed his real concern for the future of the UN if that body doesn’t recognize a growing hegemony, and begin to change. That the United Nations should change in the face of the changing world was in fact, the thrust of his speech.
Following prayers and greetings, he defined the assembly as a gathering to ponder, and to work together, to build a better life for the human community, and for all nations. "Iran is the land of glory, beauty, knowledge, culture, wisdom. It is the cradle of philosophy and mysticism; land of compassion and light. It is the land of scientists, scholars, philosophers; masters of literature, and writers..." He spoke of bitter times past, and said Iran welcomes any effort to promote peace, stability and tranquility, which “Can be only realized through harmony, cooperation and joint management of the world.”