Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday he was preparing to attend next week’s annual UN General Assembly meeting in New York, the presidential website reported.
“The backing of people can strengthen and support us ahead of our visit to New York,” Ahmadinejad said in comments streamed live on the website as he toured the northwestern province of Ardabil.
His visits to the assembly, since he became the president in 2005, have always been controversial.
Last year he sparked fury when he accused the United States of staging the 9/11 attacks in his speech at the assembly.
In 2009, a dozen delegations, including the United States and France, staged a walkout to protest his fiery speech to the assembly, which they branded as “hateful and anti-Semitic.”
In a speech Wednesday during his Ardabil tour, Ahmadinejad took a swipe at NATO, warning nations in the region that a military intervention by the alliance would not be in their interests.
“NATO bullets and bombings will never bode well or bring happiness for any country or nation … reforms must take place, but without the interference of America or its allies,” but rather through “astute” regional discussions, he said.
NATO has carried out a sustained air campaign against fugitive Moamer Kadhafi’s forces in Libya, which helped opposition forces topple the strongman’s regime in the North African country.
Tehran has supported the protests in all Arab countries except Syria, its main Arab ally, where the Islamic republic backs the government of President Bashar al-Assad, but has also urged him to implement some reforms.