Regarding Israel, President Ahmadinejad drew criticism shortly after assuming his post, when he claimed the Holocaust was a myth and that "Israel must be wiped off the map." In late 2006, he further outraged the international community by calling for and executing the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust, a convention that featured speeches and presentations from several prominent Holocaust-deniers; though Ahmadinejad maintained the event was not solely for deniers, but all those seeking to inquire into the Holocaust.
For these incendiary acts, especially his comments about Israel's right to exist and his government's alleged complicity in terrorist activities in Iraq, the United States has adopted an extremely tough official stance towards Iran and Ahmadinejad, with President Bush warning of 'consequences' should the country fail to stay in line.
In September 2007, Ahmadinejad famously travelled to New York City to speak again before the United Nations, and also to address students at Columbia University. There, he fielded questions from students, at one point reportedly saying that, "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country."
Image: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez and Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud at an OPEC summit in Riyadh in November 2007.
Photograph: Hassan Ammar/AFP/Getty Images
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