Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who systematically refers to the state of Israel as “the Zionist regime”, uncharacteristically acknowledged a delegation of Israeli officials at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – Rio+20 – this week in Brazil.
“The megalomaniac from Iran took it a step further: Despite the sign that says ‘Israel’ on my desk and the lapel pin on my jacket, he nodded and smiled toward us,” said Shama Hacohen, a member of the Israeli Knesset who was in Brazil for the conference. Hacohen noted that the Iranians’ normal procedure is to take a detour around Israeli representatives, instead of walking past them directly.
Nations attending the event are seated in alphabetical order, which places Iran and Israel almost directly next to each other.
“To the surprise of the Foreign Ministry officials, when the lunatic and his people rose from their seats, they broke with tradition and passed by us rather than go through a detour,” Hacohen wrote on his Facebook page.
In the past, international delegations at the United Nations have walked out of the room when Ahmadinejad has spoken, most notably in 2010 when the Iranian leader claimed that “segments within the U.S. government” orchestrated the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2011.
Hacohen said that when he saw Ahmadinejad in Brazil, he looked less like the leader of a nation building a nuclear program, and more like a “nuclear merchant”.
“Up close, he looks more like a seed merchant than someone who is running a nuclear program,” he said, using the hebrew word “gar’in”, which can be translated as “seed” or “nuclear”.
To watch a video Ahmadinejad’s 2010 speech at the UN, which prompted numerous international delegations to walk out of the room, click below.