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Hostile reception for Ahmadinejad at US unive -

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TONY JONES: Well also in New York and due to address the UN tomorrow, the Iranian President,
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was given a hostile reception yesterday at a prominent university.

Thousands of protesters gathered outside while the Iranian leader faced scathing criticism of his
policies from the President of Columbia University.

David Lawrence reports.

DAVID LAWRENCE: America's biggest Jewish city was never going to welcome the Iranian President with
open arms.

PROTESTER: His intentions are clear.

DAVID LAWRENCE: Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has dismissed the Holocaust as myth and called for the
destruction of Israel. "The Evil Has Landed" thundered a New York tabloid, trying to capture the
mood outside Columbia University where the President had been invited to speak.

PROTESTER 1: I don't think we would have invited Hitler, so I don't think we should invite
Ahmedinejad.

PROTESTER 2: There's no question that he is the Hitler of our generation and everyone should be out
here protesting. He should have been greeted with handcuffs, not a red carpet.

DAVID LAWRENCE: A few blocks away at the United Nations, the Israeli Foreign Minister was
expressing solidarity with the demonstrators.

TZIPI LIVNI, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER: Not for the past, but for the future. There's a need to stop
Ahmedinejad, his hatred, his incitement, his ideas which are based on extreme ideology.

DAVID LAWRENCE: If the Iranian President was hoping for a better reception from his hosts inside
the prestigious Ivy League university, he didn't get it.

LEE BOLLINGER, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: Mr President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty
and cruel dictator.

DAVID LAWRENCE: And the University head didn't hold back over Mr Ahmedinejad's views on the
Holocaust.

LEE BOLLINGER: When you come to a place like this, this makes you quite simply ridiculous. You are
either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated.

DAVID LAWRENCE: The President seemed taken aback by the verbal assault which he called unfriendly
treatment and an insult. But he wasn't deterred from once again questioning the significance of the
Holocaust.

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (TRANSLATION): Given this historical event, if it is a
reality we need to still question whether the Palestinian people should be paying for it or not.
After all, it happened in Europe. The Palestinians had no role to play in it.

DAVID LAWRENCE: He was just laughed at when he rejected criticisms that gays are persecuted in
Iran.

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD (TRANSLATION): We don't have homosexuals like in your country. We don't have
that in our country. In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we
have it.

DAVID LAWRENCE: After his grilling at Columbia University, the Iranian President held talks with
the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon. He's due to address the General Assembly tomorrow and is
expected to use his speech to reject US claims Iran is attempting to build a nuclear weapons
program. Earlier he told reporters Iran would not launch an attack on Israel or any other country
and he did not believe America was planning for war against Iran.

"Talk of an American attack served a domestic electoral purpose," he said, "and was a cover up for
continued policy favours over Iraq." He added, "we don't think you can compensate for one mistake
by making more mistakes." David Lawrence, Lateline.