Ahmadinejad: Israel, U.S. Won’t Strike Iran's Nuclear Facilities

Natasha Mozgovaya
Haaretz Service
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Natasha Mozgovaya
Haaretz Service

Neither the United States nor Israel are capable of attacking Iran's nuclear facilities, the Atlantic Monthly quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying on Tuesday.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during interview with the Associated Press, September 19, 2010.Credit: AP

When asked whether or not he felt a military strike on Iran was feasible, Ahmadinejad was overheard by Atlantic Monthly reporters as saying: "I really don't think so."

"The Zionist regime is a very small entity on the map, even to the point that it doesn't really factor into our equation," the Iranian leader said, equally dismissing the possibility of an American strike.

"The United States has never entered a serious war, and has never been victorious," Ahmadinejad said, adding that "The United States doesn't understand what war looks like. When a war starts, it knows no limits."

Later on, the Iranian president again referred to his controversial remarks regarding the Holocaust, asking  "why don't we allow this subject to be examined further... It is incorrect to force only one view on the rest of the world."

"We need to ask, where did this event occur, and why should the Palestinian people continue to suffer for it? I am not an anti-Semite. I am anti-Zionism."

"How come when it comes to the subject of the Holocaust there is so much sensitivity?" the Atlantic Monthly quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

Earlier Tuesday, Ahmadinejad told a United Nations General Assembly session on poverty that capitalism was on the verge of extinction and that it was time for a new economic system.

"The discriminatory order of capitalism and the hegemonic approaches are facing defeat and are getting close to their end," Ahmadinejad said at a summit meeting assessing progress on achieving UN goals to drastically reduce poverty by 2015.

"The undemocratic and unjust governance structures of the decision-making bodies in international economic and political fields are the reasons behind most of the plights today humanity is confronting," he said, according to an English translation of his prepared remarks.

Ahmadinejad had drawn large crowds for previous UN speeches but Tuesday's address was delivered to a virtually empty hall.

It was unclear whether the unusually low attendance was due to waning interest in Ahmadinejad five years after he first addressed the assembly or if it was the fact that he was one of the first speakers in the morning session, which began at 9 A.M.

Ahmadinejad offered no clear alternative to capitalism but said, "The world is in need of an encompassing and, of course, just and humane order in the light of which the rights of all are preserved and peace and security are safeguarded."

Ahmadinejad will address the 192-nation General Assembly again on Thursday during its annual General Debate, in which world leaders traditionally cover issues important to them.

In the past, Ahmadinejad has used the General Debate as a forum to defend Iran's nuclear program and assail its arch foes Israel and the United States, typically prompting walkouts by the United States and some European countries.

Meanwhile, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) sent a letter to the Hilton Manhattan East, hotel owners The Procaccianti Group, national headquarters of Hilton Worldwaide, and Hilton’s parent corporation Blackstone expressing dismay at the hotel’s decision to host Iranian President Ahmadinejad and his delegation during the United Nations General Assembly this week in N.Y.

The letter states that the decision to welcome President Ahmadinejad and his delegation brought shame on the Hilton brand and the Procaccianti Group and inquired as to why Hilton was ignoring the international consensus to isolate the country.