9/11 anniversary: Iranian leader again says U.S. staged attacks
As millions of Americans remembered the nearly 3,000 men, women and children killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeated his claims that the U.S. staged the attacks to justify overseas military aggression and profit from weapon sales.
"The Sept. 11 [attacks] were actually a planned game to provoke the human community's sentiments and find an excuse for launching attack on Muslim regions and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, which led to the massacre of 1 million innocent people," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying on Sunday.
According to the Fars News Agency, Ahmadinejad said: "It was said that some 3,000 people were killed on Sept. 11 for which we are all very saddened. Yet, up until now, in Afghanistan and Iraq hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, millions wounded and displaced and the conflict is still going on and expanding."
Ahmadinejad's comments are nothing new, but the timing is particularly inflammatory coming on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
Almost exactly one year ago, in September 2010, Ahmadinejad made similar remarks before the United Nations General Assembly in New York, just a short distance from the site of the attacks on the World Trade Center. He said then that the 2001 attacks were staged by the U.S. to hide the effects of a declining economy and to protect its ally, Israel.
"The majority of the American people as well as most nations and politicians around the world agree with this view," Ahmadinejad claimed.
U.S. officials walked out to protest the Iranian president’s speech, and President Obama promptly condemned Ahmadinejad for the remarks. "It was offensive. It was hateful," Obama said at the time, " ... for him to make a statement like that was inexcusable."
In the past Ahmadinejad has taken such provocative positions as denying that the Holocaust killed 6 million Jews in Europe.
Photo: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center, this month in Tehran. Credit: Vahid Salemi / Associated Press