Just when Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was beginning to sound somewhat sane, he goes and says something like this: "We don't need to build (atomic) bombs," he told a crowd at a ceremony inaugurating a new dam in Western Iran. "Bombs are for retarded people." The Adam Sandler-esque soundbite comes from a report by Iran's semi-official FARS news agency, which doesn't give any sort of explanation for Ahmadinejad's befuddling connection between the mentally handicapped and weapons of mass destruction. Prior to the quote, the news agency cites the president saying: "As far as the nuclear issue is concerned, what they (the westerners) fear is Iran's ability and determination that drove us into this (nuclear) path."
The remark comes on the heels of Ahmadinejad's latest feud with his more traditionalist rivals who want to segregate men and women at Iran's universities. Ahmadinejad struck a rather reasonable tone on that one stressing that "Urgent action is required to prevent these superficial and non-scholarly actions." As Reuters notes, domestically, Ahmadinejad isn't seen as a hardliner since he's "outflanked on the right by ultra-conservatives." Still his history of "indelicate" language means he won't be changing perceptions in the West anytime soon. Have a look at some of his past remarks.
On Israel being "wiped off the map" "The Zionist Regime has lost its existence philosophy," he said. "The Zionist regime faces a complete deadend and under God's grace your wish will soon be materialized and the corrupt element will be wiped off the map."
On gay people "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals. In Iran we don't have this phenomenon," he said.
On 9/11 "In his speech at the UN, the Iranian leader suggested the US government could have 'orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy, and its grips on the Middle East, in order to save the Zionist regime'. Mr Ahmadinejad usually refers to Israel as the 'Zionist regime,'" reported the BBC. The speech provoked a walkout and President Obama called the words "hateful" and "offensive."
On denying the Holocaust "'The pretext (Holocaust) for the creation of the Zionist regime (Israel) is false ... It is a lie based on an unprovable and mythical claim,' he told worshippers at Tehran University at the end of an annual anti-Israel 'Qods (Jerusalem) Day' rally," reported Reuters.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.