NEW YORK — Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday put himself forward as a champion for European separatists -- from Wales to Spain's Basque region -- who he said had been ignored by the United Nations.
One day after sparking a walkout at the UN General Assembly over his rebuke of western nations, Ahmadinejad returned to the fray at his final press conference in New York, calling for a revolution in world governance because the western powers had shown they could not cope with "social crises, economic crises, financial crises."
And adding charges of double standards to the debate, he compared the UN Security Council support given to Sudan this year to its silence over decades-old nationalist struggles in some Western European countries.
Highlighting the oil resources in Southern Sudan, Ahmadinejad said Western governments had "very easily and quite seriously supported the referendum that was aimed to divide Sudan, based on the premise that it was the right of the people.
"But for many, many years the people in Ireland they have been fighting, in Scotland they have been fighting, in Wales they have been fighting, Corsica in France, the Basque movement in Spain."
But Ahmadinejad said neither Security Council nor western governments "have even allowed for the word 'referendum' to enter into this picture, so let us not even talk about agreement.
"They won't even allow to utter the words referendum about these locations I have named. So this is clear tangible discrimination."
While Basque militants have killed some people in recent years and Corsican nationalists still set off bombs, the Irish tensions have eased considerably in recent years and Scottish and Welsh tensions are mainly political.
Ahmadinejad said the UN "framework" can "no longer resolve world issues. It must be rebuilt, an open path must be opened for everyone's participation with equal rights without exception and equal rights for all and mutual respect. Only then will we see that this world is truly beautiful."
The Iranian leader said "management of world affairs needs reform and transparent responsible officials must replace the current irresponsible ones."
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