Juan Cole reacts to the Iranian president calling the 9/11 attacks an inside job:
The [UN] speech was shown on Iranian television, and he was almost certainly actually playing to the audience back home. He wanted to be on television on the world stage, poking America in the eye.
Ahmadinejad deliberately missed a chance to improve relations with the US. One of the suspects in Wednesday’s bombing in the largely Kurdish city of Mahabad is Ansar al-Islam, or radical Sunnis of the al-Qaeda type. (Kurdish separatist movements don’t typically target Kurdish civilians, as this bombing did). Iran’s president could have taken advantage of that tragedy to declare solidarity with the US in fighting radical Sunnism. He was more wedded to getting some guffaws in the workplaces of Iran.
Gary Sick sighs:
The situation has become so predictable, and so flattering to the man who comes here primarily to wallow in the publicity circus, that several journalists and organizations even issued a handbook this year about how to interview this fellow. It had no appreciable effect. Ahmadinejad loves attention, and nowhere can he get so much so fast as in New York.
Asking him tough questions is pointless. When he can’t turn the question around, when he can’t slip around it to score a point, he simply lies. Over and over and over. The website Tehran Bureau (in association with PBS Frontline) assembled a list of the most egregious recent examples
If one good thing came out of the episode, it was the first-ever interview of president Obama by an Iranian reporter.
(Image from a collection of "Four Ads Mocking Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Photoshop")