NEW YORK, N.Y. – Diplomats from Canada are among those who walked out on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the Iranian president took the podium today at the UN General Assembly.
The Canadian delegation also walked out on the controversial leader’s speech last year.
Canada’s controversial decision to cut diplomatic ties with Iran has elevated tensions between the two countries.
The Islamic Republic News Agency today posted a statement from Iran’s Foreign Ministry urging Iranian citizens to avoid Canada, citing “Islamophobia,” “Iranophobia” and a “double-standard” in Canada towards human rights.
In the past, Ahmadinejad has used the UN spotlight to attack Israel, cast doubt on the Holocaust and question American accounts of the 9-11 attacks.
Ahmadinejad is speaking despite the concerted efforts of some, including Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, to convince UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to pull the plug.
“Allowing President Ahmadinejad to address the UN General Assembly is a cruel parody of law and justice that will put us on the wrong side of history,” Cotler wrote in a recent letter to the secretary general and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The letter cited Ahmadinejad for human rights violations, pursuit of nuclear weapons in defiance of the UN and incitement to genocide.
Cotler said the UN should be indicting Ahmadinejad, not inviting him to the podium.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has decided not to speak to the opening of the assembly’s fall session. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is to speak at the UN next week.