This is the full text of the speech Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave at the Durban Review Conference, a UN conference on racism, in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday, 20th April 2009.
Protesters interrupted the conference before Mr Ahmadinejad could start his speech. He refers to the incident in his opening sentence.
I would like to ask all honourable participants to forgive them. They are ignorant.
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Thanks to God, the Lord of the worlds, and peace and praise be upon our master and prophet, Muhammad and his immaculate progeny and true followers. O God, hasten the reappearance of the Hidden Imam and grant him health and victory and make us his true companions and believers and those who testify to His rightfulness.
Praise belongs to the just, merciful, and compassionate God. May God's blessing be upon the prophets, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the last prophet His Holiness Muhammad Mustafa, who called for monotheism, fraternity, kindness, human dignity, and justice.
Mr Chairman, Honourable Secretary-General of the UN, Honourable High Commissariat for Human Rights, Ladies and Gentlemen, following the Durban anti-racism and discrimination conference, we have gathered here to examine the current situation and to find practical solutions for this humane and sacred campaign. In the past centuries, great injustice was inflicted on mankind.
In the Middle Ages scholars and scientists were sentenced to death. And later on slavery and the hunting down of innocent people, separating them from their families and taking them in millions to Europe and America in the worst conditions, was popular. These were dark ages where lands were occupied and their sources were looted, and innocent people were killed and made homeless. Years passed until people rose. They paid a high price in order to drive occupiers out and establish independent and national governments; millions of people were killed. Those in power imposed two major wars in short periods of time on Europe and parts of Africa and Asia. These were wars which took about 100 million lives and resulted in destruction of a lot of countries and regions. Those who won these wars considered themselves conquerors of the world and considered other nations defeated. And by the imposition of oppressive laws and arrangements they ignored and violated other nations rights.
Ladies and gentlemen, look at the Security Council which is the legacy of World War I and II. Based on what logic have they been given the right to veto? With which human and divine value is this logic compatible? Justice, equality in the eye of law and human dignity or discrimination, injustice, violation of human rights and belittling the majority of nations and countries? This Council is the most supreme decision-making centre for maintaining peace and security in the world.
When there is legal discrimination and the law-making centre is a source of bullying and force instead of justice and fairness, how can one expect to achieve justice and peace? Seeking power and selfishness is the source of racism, discrimination, aggression and tyranny. Today many racists condemn racism in their slogans and speeches but when some powerful countries give themselves the right to make decisions for other countries, using their discretion, and based on their own interests, they can easily trample on all rules and human values. As they have already proven.
After the Second World War, by exploiting the holocaust and under the pretext of protecting the Jews they made a nation homeless with military expeditions and invasion. They transferred various groups of people from America, Europe and other countries to this land. They established a completely racist government in the occupied Palestinian territories. And in fact, under the pretext of making up for damages resulting from racism in Europe, they established the most aggressive, racist country in another territory, i.e. Palestine.
The Security Council endorsed this usurper regime and for 60 years constantly defended it and let it commit any kind of crime.
Worse than this is that some Western governments and America are committed to support genocidal racists while others condemn the bombardment of innocent human beings, the occupation of their land and the disasters that took place in Gaza. Even before they kept silent, not responding to all the crimes of that regime, and supported it. Dear friends, ladies and gentlemen, what has been the source of recent wars such as the Americans' attack on Iraq or the wide military expedition in Afghanistan? Has it been anything else than the selfishness of the American government of the time and the pressures by those in possession of wealth and power to expand influence and hegemony, support weapon manufacturers, destroy a great culture that is thousands of years old, destroying possible and potentials risks by the countries of the region against the occupying Quds regime, and looting the energy resources of the Iraqi people?
In fact why were one million people dead and injured and a few million people forced to leave their homeland? Why were hundreds of billions of dollars worth of damage inflicted on the Iraqi people and hundreds of billions of dollars of costs for the military invasion imposed on the American people and America's allies? Was attacking Iraq not orchestrated by the Zionists and their allies in the previous ruling government of America which was on the one hand in power and on the other the owner of arms manufacturing companies?
Did peace, security and prosperity return to Afghanistan by military intervention? America and its allies were not even able to stop the production of narcotics and during their presence it increased several fold. The main question is this: What was the role of the previous ruling system in America and its allies? Were they the representatives of the world nations? Were they elected by the world nations? Do they have representation by the world nations to interfere in the affairs of all parts of the world and especially our region? Don't these actions, the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, count as examples of selfishness, racism, discrimination and violating the dignity and independence of other nations?
Ladies and gentlemen, who are the people in charge of the crisis-hit economy of the world? Where did the crisis start? Did it start in Africa and Asia or American and then Europe and their allies?
For a long time, using their political influence, they [West] imposed unfair economic laws on international economic transactions. They set up financial and monetary systems without provisions of international supervision and imposed those systems on countries that did not have the smallest role to play in the processes and policies adopted.
They do not even allow their own nations to supervise. By taking away morality from their actions, they have established laws in a way that they serve the interests of certain powerful people and capitalists. By giving a specific definition of free market and competition, they took away many opportunities from others and imposed their problems on others.
Today, with dozens of thousands of billions of dollars of debt and thousands of billions of dollars of budget deficit, those waves of crisis have come back to them.
Even today in order to improve the situation, they have started injecting hundred billions of dollars of unsupported money from the pockets of their citizens and other nations into banks and companies and financial markets which were close to bankruptcy and they have made their people even more indebted and they have made the problem more complicated.
They are thinking of maintaining their power and wealth. And the people of the world and even their own people are of no value to them. Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the true root of racism is the lack of human understanding as God's chosen creatures and deviation from the true path of human life and human missions in creation. Due to negligence in worshipping God with awareness and pondering on the philosophy of life and the path towards human perfection - which leads to the natural outcome of being committed to divine values and mankind - the horizon of human insight has declined. And limited and temporary interests became the criteria of evaluation and actions by human beings. Therefore, the seeds of evil power took their shape and by neglecting fair chances for others' growth, it added to the boundaries of its development.
In such a way that it changed to an ugly and uncontrollable racism that today it is threatening the global peace as the most dangerous factor. And it is an obstacle on the way of achieving peaceful life in the world. Undoubtedly, racism should be recognised as the symbol of ignorance of the depth of history and a sign of dogmatism against mankind's general growth. Therefore, we should look for the signs of racism under conditions and situations in a society where poverty of knowledge and lack of understanding would be spread. Therefore, the main means of fighting such symptoms is to promote general awareness and deepening public understanding towards the philosophy of mankind's existence and the truth about the human-oriented world. Its requirement or outcome is a return to spiritual and ethical values and human virtues and finally the belief in God. The global society should start a united cultural movement for enlightening certain suffering and undeveloped societies as much as possible and uproot this hideous and evil phenomenon.
But dear friends, today the human society is facing a kind of racism which has an ugliness that has completely distorted the honour of mankind at the verge of the third millennium and it has made the global society shameful. The global Zionism is the complete symbol of racism, which with unreal reliance on religion has tried to misuse the religious beliefs of some unaware people and hide its ugly face. But what should be seriously considered are the goals of certain superpowers and those in possession of major interests in the world; those who try their best through economic power and political influence and wide media means, to lessen the crimes and ugliness of the nature of the Zionist regime. Here, the main issue is not ignorance and therefore, cultural movements on their own, are not sufficient to fight this evil phenomenon. But we should try to put an end to the misuse of international means by the Zionists and their supporters. And by respecting nations' demands, we should motivate the united governments to eliminate this clear racism and step on the path of reforming international relations 0and mechanisms with courage.
Undoubtedly, you are all aware of the extensive efforts by the institutes of global power towards creating a deviation on the path of the real mission of this important conference. Unfortunately in the literature supporting the Zionists, a clear participation and cooperation in their crimes can be noticed. And this adds to the responsibilities of the respectful representatives of nations in revealing this antihuman issue and improving relations and behaviours. We should be aware that to keep a huge global capacity, such as this conference, away from its real intentions, means helping to continue the most hideous sense of racism. Today the necessity of defending human rights is firstly, to defend the rights of a nation to be free to make decisions regarding important global affairs without the influence of certain powers; secondly, to take action to improve international structures and relations. Therefore, this conference is the arena of a major test and we will be judged by the world's public opinion today and tomorrow.
Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, the world's general condition is rapidly moving towards basic changes. Power based equations have become very weak. The sound of the pillars of global tyranny breaking can be heard. Political and macro economic structures are falling. Political and security crisis are growing. And the growing global economic crisis, for the resolution of which there is no bright horizon, makes all sorts of quantitative and quality aspects of change on the way very impressive. I have emphasised the necessity of getting back from the wrong path that today's absolute global management is following and I have warned about the critical outcomes of delaying to do so.
Also now, in this valued conference, addressing you managers, thinkers and all the world nations who are thirsty for peace, freedom, progress and prosperity, I would like to say that the unjust ruling of the world is reaching its end. This deadlock was inevitable since the logic behind this imposed management is tyrannical. This is because the logic of the mass movement of the world is divine, purposeful, humane and God-centred. It is a movement which opposes any policy or plan which is not in line with the interests of nations. Victory of truth over vice and the bright future of humanity and the establishment of a just global system is the promise of God and all prophets, and a common hope of all communities and generations. Achieving such a future justifies the reason behind creation, is the belief of all those faithful to God and the very high status of the human beings.
Formation of a global community, the practical possibility of a common global system materialising and finally involving thinkers, managers and people of the world to actively and justly participate in the macro and principle decision makings is the main path to this great destination.
At the moment, scientific and technical capabilities as well as information and communication technology have created a mutual and comprehensive understanding of the global community and have created the necessary ground for a common system to materialise. .
Now, this is a grave responsibility that the world's scientists, elites and officials across the world should shoulder by playing a historic role through faith in this definite path.
Now I want to stress on this fact that western capitalism like communism has reached the end of its path because it does not see the world and humanity as they are. It has tried to impose a self-constructed path and destination and instead of paying attention to human and divine values, justice, freedom, compassion and brotherhood it has set fierce competition for gaining individual and collective materialistic interests as a basis for life.
Now we should collectively try to learn lessons from the past and understand the necessity for correcting this path by considering today's conditions. And on the same note and as the final word I would like to draw your attention to two important points.
First point: The improvement of the current international condition is hundred per cent possible. But we should know that this cannot be achieved without the cooperation of all the governments and nations. Therefore, we should benefit from the capacities of international cooperation to the maximum. My presence in this conference indicates my respect for this important issue, and the essential issue of human rights and support for nations' rights against the evil phenomenon of racism and cooperation with you, the thinkers.
Second: Considering the lack of efficiency of systems and international political, economic, security and cultural relations is necessary. In view of divine and humanitarian values and the true and real definition of human beings and based on justice and respect for the rights of all human beings across the world, confessing to the wrong management in the past and changing the views and performances, measures should be taken to reform the current structures. Therefore, a speedy change in the structure of the United Nations and the elimination of the discriminatory right to veto and a change in the financial and monetary system of the world must be on the agenda. Obviously, the lack of understanding for the urgency of this change will result in heavier costs due to any delay.
My dear friends, you should know that moving in line with justice and human dignity is like moving quickly on a stream of water. Let's not forget the valuable elixir of love and compassion. The guarantee for a clear future for human beings is a great asset that can keep us more aware and more hopeful than ever before. It can enable us to create a world full of love and blessing and can be free from poverty and hatred. We will also be able to profit from the blessings of God and have the advantage of having a decent management of a complete human being.
Let us all have a share in this important issue, and hope for that bright and beautiful day. I would like to sincerely thank the President and the UN Secretary-General and all of you for your patience, wishing you dignity and success.
This is a BBC translation from a speech transcript supplied by the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, Tehran, in Persian.
The speech Mr Ahmadinejad gave was different in some respects from the draft submitted previously by the Iranians to the UN. That can be accessed here.