(JTA) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with Nation of Islam leader the Rev. Louis Farrakhan and other leaders of "Abrahamic religions."
The meeting on Tuesday in New York City was reported in an English translation of the Iranian president’s Web page. The information was first reported by the Daily Caller, an online news site.
According to Ahmadinejad’s web page, the night before his address to the U.N. General Assembly, Farrakhan and seven other leaders of “Abrahamic religions” listened to the Iranian leader’s desires for a new world order, the major theme of his U.N. speech.
In a picture on Ahmadinejad’s web page with the eight leaders, the only name tag other than Farrakhan’s that can be clearly read is the Rev. Dr. Elias Mallon, the education and interreligious affairs officer of a group called the Catholic Near East Welfare Association. Mallon represents his group at the United Nations.
During the meeting, Ahmadinejad reportedly made his case for his country’s nuclear program. Iran, he said, has a right to develop clean energy. He also stressed that “U.S. animosity” against his country stemmed from Washington’s desire to control Middle East energy resources.
“He further pointed to the western countries contradictory approach regarding their opposition to the atomic bombs and said if they are true with their claims why do they not destroy their own nuclear bombs first?” Ahmadinejad’s web page said. He added that the "Zionist regime is suffering from mental disequilibrium."
The New York Post also reported that Ahmadinejad met at the Warwick Hotel, where he was staying, with Farrakhan and members of the New Black Panther Party.
"This is part of reaching out to the fringe that supports him," Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, told JTA.