Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in his own contradictory words

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues to deliver inflammatory speeches that leave listeners wondering what he really means. Here are seven examples of his contradictory remarks.

Morteza Nikoubazl/REUTERS
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives at Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport Monday, after a trip to attend the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Iran's president knows how to deliver a headline-grabber.

But like a lot of politicians, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also tends to contradict himself (sometimes within the same speech), often leaving the audience to decide for themselves where he stands on an issue.

Addressing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation meeting at the UN headquarters in New York City this week, President Ahmadinejad said nuclear weapons are “a fire against humanity.” But is Iran building the capability to make one of those fires? That's what the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says it can't rule out without full cooperation from Iran.

Iran has a history of making "confusing, contradictory, and inaccurate statements,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself told reporters Monday.

At an October 26, 2005, conference in Tehran entitled "The World without Zionism," he offered remarks that both denied and supported the reality of the Holocaust.

On the one hand he said governments in the West “have invented a myth that Jews were massacred.” He then said that, regarding the extermination of 6 million Jews during World War II, “it seems [Europeans] are right in their claim because they insist on it and arrest and imprison those who oppose it.”

Here are six more issues that the leader of Iran has contradicted himself on.

On weapons:

  • “The nuclear bomb is a fire against humanity, rather than a weapon of defense. The possession of nuclear bombs is not a source of pride. Its possession is disgusting and shameful.” – Monday at the NPT Review Conference
  • “Iran can recruit hundreds of suicide bombers a day. Suicide is an invincible weapon. Suicide bombers in this land showed us the way, and they enlighten our future.” – April 1, 2007

On attacking others:

  • NPT members should consider "any threat to use nuclear weapons or attack against peaceful nuclear facilities as a breach of international peace and security." – Monday at the NPT Review Conference
  • “As soon as the new [Iran] government is established, with power and authority, ten times more than before, it will enter the global scene and will bring down the global arrogance. … we will not allow the arrogant [powers[ to even have one night of good sleep." – July 16, 2009, addressing a crowd in the northeastern city of Mashhad

On homosexuality:

  • “He said that, compared to American society, we don't have many homosexuals.” – presidential media adviser Mehdi Kalhor, October 10, 2007

On Israel:

  • "Israel is destined for destruction and will soon disappear.” – November 13, 2006
  • “If they [the Palestinians] want to keep the Zionists, they can stay ... Whatever the people decide, we will respect it. I mean, it's very much in correspondence with our proposal to allow Palestinian people to decide through free referendums.” – September 2008 interview

On the Holocaust:

  • "They [Western powers] launched the myth of the Holocaust. They lied, they put on a show and then they support the Jews…." – September 18, 2009, at the annual Quds Day rally in Tehran
  • “I'm not saying that it didn't happen at all.” – September, 24, 2007, addressing Columbia University

On 9/11:

  • “September Eleventh was a horrendous incident. The killing of innocents is deplorable and appalling in any part of the world. Our government immediately declared its disgust with the perpetrators and offered its condolences to the bereaved and expressed its sympathies." – May 10, 2006, letter to George W. Bush
  • "The September 11 incident was a big fabrication as a pretext for the campaign against terrorism and a prelude for staging an invasion against Afghanistan." – March 6, 2010, as quoted in the official IRNA news agency


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