Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, walked out of the UN General Assembly hall on Monday after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began making a speech about the rule of law.
Ahmadinejad was speaking during the UN’s first high-level session on the rule of law, national and international. The Iranian leader’s main address to the UN General Assembly will be Wednesday evening, near the end of Yom Kippur, when no Israeli delegates will be present.
“There is no law and no justice,” Prosor said, objecting to the fact that Ahmadinejad was allowed to speak at the forum. “The leader of an outlaw country that systematically violates the fundamental principles of the rule of law has no place here.”
“It’s a shame and a disgrace that someone like [Ahmadinejad] was given a voice on such an important issue,” the envoy added. “Allowing Ahmadinejad to give a UN speech on an issue like the rule of law is like appointing a pyromaniac as a fire commissioner.”
Prosor’s legal team followed him out of the UN hall.
Earlier Monday, the Iranian president told reporters in New York that Israel has “no roots” in Middle East history. He called the country a “historical phase” that has only been “occupying the land” for about 60 or 70 years — as opposed to Iran, a nation with thousands of years of history, he said.
He also claimed Iran doesn’t take Israel’s threats of a military strike against its nuclear facilities seriously.
“We did not take [Israel] into account,” Ahmadinejad said. “They represent a small disturbance that will be eliminated in the future.”
“The Iranian president says foolish, offensive and sometimes unintelligable things on a regular basis,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in response to Ahmadinejad’s statements about Israel being “eliminated.”
He also said US President Barack Obama is taking steps to increase pressure on Tehran to force it to give up its nuclear program, adding that Obama means it when he says “all options are on the table” to ensure Iran does not attain nuclear weapons.
On Sunday, the leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps warned that Iran may launch a pre-emptive strike on Israel.
Israeli leaders have threatened a military strike against Iran because of the country’s nuclear program, which they say endangers Israel’s future. Iran has not cooperated with the UN atomic energy watchdog, the IAEA, and failed to grant its inspectors access to key uranium enrichment sites
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak before the UN General Assembly gathering on Thursday, when he is expected to make Iran’s nuclear program the focus of his address.