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Iran press praises Ahmadinejad speech

Several newspapers in Iran on Tuesday hailed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's anti-Israeli tirade at a UN conference that drew angry condemnation from the West.

world Updated: Apr 21, 2009 13:53 IST

Several newspapers in Iran on Tuesday hailed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's anti-Israeli tirade at a UN conference that drew angry condemnation from the West.

"Cry for justice in the heart of Europe: Ahmadinejad angered Western racists," read the headline in the government newspaper Iran.

Leading hardline daily Kayhan wrote: "Welcoming Ahmadinejad and hating racist Israel" in Geneva. Addressing a UN conference against racism in Geneva on Monday, Ahmadinejad criticised the creation of a "totally racist government in occupied Palestine" in 1948, calling it "the most cruel and racist regime."

His remarks prompted 23 European Union delegations to walk out of the conference room in protest. Among the headlines in other conservative newspapers were "Applause for Iranian logic in Geneva" in Vatan Emrouz, and "Geneva's number one man: Iran president's speech drew the ire of Zionists" in Jam-e Jam.

The reformist press, which has long been critical of Ahmadinejad's fiery rhetoric and foreign policy, focused instead on the walkout and demonstrations, but without criticising the president. "Ahmadinejad's controversial speech in Geneva," Etemad daily said.

Another leading reformist newspaper, Etemad Melli, kicked off its report from Geneva with: "Ahmadinejad's speech was not without controversy, he faced two kinds of protest."

Several Western countries including the United States had already boycotted the conference because of Ahmadinejad's participation and his anti-Israeli outburst was followed by swift condemnation from Western leaders. UN chief Ban Ki-moon in effect said Ahmadinejad had betrayed his trust.

Since taking office in 2005, Ahmadinejad has repeatedly said the Jewish state, which is not recognised by Iran, is doomed to disappear and called the Holocaust a "myth." But he did not repeat the comments in Geneva.