Opening Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei calls Israelis "ferocious Zionist wolves who digest the Palestinian people" • U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stays in hall without protest.
Shlomo Cesana, Daniel Siryoti, Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff
Iran's motto is "Nuclear energy for all and nuclear weapons for none," Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says, Thursday.
Photo credit: AP
In a meeting with David McAllister, prime minister of the German state of Lower Saxony (left), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Germany for not taking part in the summit.
Photo credit: AP
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) meets with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran, Wednesday.
Photo credit: AP
In a wildly anti-Semitic speech, even by his standards, to delegates of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran on Thursday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Israelis "ferocious Zionist wolves who digest the Palestinian people in the haraam-eating stomach of the Zionist regime."
"Haraam" means forbidden in Arabic, and usually refers to impure foods.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who was in the hall at the time of Khamenei's speech, did not get up and leave in protest. Israel had urged Ban not to attend the summit, saying that his presence would legitimize the Iranian regime, which calls for Israel's destruction.
In comments made before the summit opened, Ban did say that he "strongly rejects threats by any member state to destroy another or outrageous attempts to deny historical facts such as the Holocaust," without mentioning Iran by name.
"Claiming that Israel does not have the right to exist or describing it in racist terms is not only wrong but undermines the very principle we all have pledged to uphold," he said.
Khamenei's and Ban's comments come a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed he attendance of representatives from more than 120 countries at the summit, saying it was "a disgrace and a stain on humanity."
In a meeting Wednesday with the Prime Minister of the German state of Lower Saxony, David McAllister, who is visiting in Israel this week, Netanyahu said, "Seventy years ago, six million of my people were exterminated in an act of genocide. The world pledged 'never again'; it passed treaties against genocide; it formed the United Nations; it made a commitment that this thing will never be repeated. Today, over 120 countries are in Tehran, saluting a regime that not only denies the Holocaust but pledges to annihilate the Jewish, brutalizes its own people, colludes in the murder of thousands of innocent Syrians and leads millions in chanting, 'Death to America, death to Israel.'"
In comments that appeared to be directed at U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is attending the summit and even met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Netanyahu said, "So many in the international community appear to have learned nothing. I think this is a disgrace and a stain on humanity. I’m glad that Germany is among those countries that refuse to take part in this charade and condemn us. Because our common future is bound on standing up and confronting this inhumanity and this brutality."
Ban arrived in Tehran on Wednesday for a three-day visit to attend the summit. He defied calls from the U.S. and Israel to boycott the event.
Ban's spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said that in the U.N. secretary-general's separate meetings with Ahmadinejad and Khamenei, he had told them their verbal attacks on Israel were offensive, inflammatory and unacceptable.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told Israel Radio that Ban made a mistake by going to the summit.
"Ban's contention that he could only deliver a strong message to Iran in Iran doesn’t hold water – his message has been watered down by his very presence there. If he wanted to deliver a strong message, he could have done it best by not attending."
The opposition also spoke out against Ban's visit to Iran. Labor Party leader MK Shelly Yachimovich said, "The picture of a smiling U.N. secretary-general next to the president of Iran is outrageous. Prime Minister Netanyahu's call that [Ban Ki-moon] avoid traveling to Tehran was justified."
Khamenei, for his part, devoted the lion's share of his speech to slamming the U.S. and its allied Western countries, which, the Iranian leader said, "are imposing their "dictatorial will" on the rest of the world.
"Our view is that the control room of the world should not be managed by the dictatorial will of a few Western countries," Khamenei said according to an English translation on his website. "This is what is needed by all the countries that have been directly or indirectly harmed as a result of the transgression of a few bullying and hegemonic countries."
The Iranian supreme leader went on to slam the U.N., saying "The U.N. Security Council has an illogical, unjust and completely undemocratic structure and mechanism. This is a flagrant form of dictatorship, which is antiquated and obsolete and whose expiry date has passed. It is through abusing this improper mechanism that America and its accomplices have managed to disguise their bullying as noble concepts and impose it on the world.
"They protect the interests of the West in the name of 'human rights.' They interfere militarily in other countries in the name of 'democracy,'" he said.
Khamenei attacked Israel several times throughout his speech, saying at one point that, "The Zionist regime, which has carried out assassinations and caused conflicts and crimes for decades by waging disastrous wars, killing people, occupying Arab territories and organizing state terror in the region and in the world, labels the Palestinian people as “terrorists”, the people who have stood up to fight for their rights."
The supreme leader called on the U.S. to stop coming to Israel's side, saying, "So far, this regime has created countless problems for you. It has presented a hateful image of you to the regional peoples, and it has made you look like an accomplice in the crimes of the usurping Zionists."
On Iran's controversial nuclear program, Khamenei said that "the Islamic Republic has never been after nuclear weapons and that it will never give up the right of its people to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Our motto is: 'Nuclear energy for all and nuclear weapons for none.'"
He stressed that, "We will insist on each of these two precepts, and we know that breaking the monopoly of certain Western countries on production of nuclear energy in the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty is in the interest of all independent countries, including the members of the Non-Aligned Movement..