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A Lesson In Contrasts: Barack Obama And Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Address The U.N.

65th United Nations General Assembly Convenes

hide captionIranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad holds up a Bible and a Koran while addressing world leaders during the General Assembly at the United Nations.

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

4 p.m., Sept. 27 — Readers: As you'll see from the correction above, we blundered on this one. The boilerplate of Ahmadinejad's speech last year and this year were similar. And, as you can see from the original post below, after listening to the U.N. address Corey Flintoff mistakenly grabbed the transcript of the Iranian president's 2009 speech, not the one delivered this year. The correct link for Amhadinejad's U.N. speech delivered Sept. 23, 2010, is: http://gadebate.un.org/Portals/1/statements/634208557381562500IR_en.pdf

Our original post:

President Obama and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demonstrated once again today just how apart their worldviews are.

Obama referenced Iran in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, linking it to U.S. efforts on nuclear nonproliferation. He reminded the assembly of his warning to Iran last year, that it would "held accountable" if it failed to demonstrate that its nuclear program is peaceful.

He said the latest round of U.N. sanctions against the Islamic republic showed that accountability was not "an empty promise." But he said "the door remains open to diplomacy should Iran choose to walk through it."

Ahmadinejad's speech, later in the day, showed little inclination to walk through any doors held open by the U.S.

He made it clear he sees the U.S. as the evil side of a bipolar world.  In a speech laced with religious references, he spoke of "two conflicting outlooks prevailing in our world; one that is based on the predominance of its materialistic interests through spreading inequality" and "one that spouses with the belief in the oneness of the Almighty God."

Obama's speech focused heavily on the effort to revive the Middle East peace process, and Ahmadinejad focused just as heavily on rejecting it.  He denounced what he called "the inhuman policies in Palestine," and recalled the 2008 Israeli offensive in Gaza as the "barbaric attacks by the Zionist regime."

The Iranian leader didn't mention his country's nuclear program, but he denounced "some governments" that "export billions of dollars of arms every year…while accusing others of militarism," and "impede scientific and technological progress of other nations under the pretext of countering arms proliferation."

Ahmadinejad's answer to world problems? A global return to "monotheism" and a restructuring of the U.N., especially by abolishing the veto rights of the five permanent Security Council members, The U.S., the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China.

As president of the Islamic Republic, Ahmadinejad has never hesitated to speak in religious terms.  He ended his speech with a vision of "that brilliant time to come" when all are believers.

Correction Sept. 27, 2010

This blog post was erroneously based in part on a transcript from the Iranian president’s speech from 2009.

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