Page 3 Profile: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian President


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The Independent Online

Another UN controversy?

In the past couple of years, the Iranian president's speeches to the UN's General Assembly have provoked outrage, anger and walk-outs. There are no signs that today's oration will be any different. He is expected to repeat his call for an inquiry into whether the US government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, and previewed his speech by saying Israel will be "eliminated".

But why's he pictured with Piers?

Ahmadinejad, who travelled to New York with an entourage of 140, is never short of a soundbite. On Monday, he was interviewed by Morgan for CNN, and aired his disturbing views on homosexuality and the Holocaust. Declaring that capitalism was responsible for homosexuality, he made Morgan appear positively likeable.


In response to a question from Morgan, who supports equal rights, Ahmadinejad said: "Do you believe that anyone is giving birth through homosexuality? Homosexuality ceases procreation." He dodged a question on how he would feel if one of his children came out as gay and blamed Western society: "Proper education must be given... the education system must be revamped. The political system must be revamped. And these must be also reformed, revamped along the way," he said. "But if you, if a group recognises an ugly behaviour or ugly deed as legitimate, you must not expect other countries or other groups to give it the same recognition."

Was he roundly condemned?

If world leaders took Ahmadinejad to task on everything he said they'd have little time for anything else. Such views on homosexuality are no real surprise. Ahmadinejad has previously said the AIDS virus was created in the West and inflicted upon poor African countries so the First World could flog them medicines. In 2007, he told students at Columbia University that there are no homosexuals in Iran. In case there are, it is punishable by death.

Any more lowlights'?

Asked his opinion on the Holocaust, he turned down the opportunity to condemn the genocide of Jewish people as an unconscionable tragedy, instead saying: "Whatever event has taken place throughout history, or hasn't taken place, I cannot judge that." He also neglected to condemn the attacks on US staff abroad in the wake of the infamous Innocence of Muslims film, saying, "extremism gives birth to following and subsequent extremists".