Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that any country that stockpiles nuclear weapons is “mentally retarded,” because the age of nuclear deterrence is over. In a speech Thursday, he also took the opportunity to once again deny Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
"The period and era of using nuclear weapons is over ... Nuclear bombs are not anymore helpful and those who are stockpiling nuclear weapons, politically they are backward, and they are mentally retarded," Ahmadinejad told reporters at a forum to promote democracy on the Indonesian island of Bali.
"The Iranian nation is not seeking an atomic bomb, nor do they need to build an atomic bomb ... For defending ourselves we do not need a nuclear weapon," said Ahmadinejad.
He added that representatives of any government or agency could visit the Islamic Republic to verify that it was not developing nuclear weapons.
The Times of Israel surveyed how many times Ahmadinejad has invoked the term “retarded” to criticize his adversaries. It found at least five instances since 2007:
In October, Ahmadinejad called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s much-hyped bomb diagram presentation at the United Nations General Assembly “primitive and childish,” and accused Netanyahu of being a war-monger, saying of him: “Whoever talks of war is retarded.”
Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency quoted the president in July 2011 making a similar statement regarding nuclear weapons as he did in Indonesia on Thursday. “We don’t need to build (atomic) bombs. Bombs are for retarded people,” Ahmadinejad said.
The news agency also quoted Ahmadinejad in 2009 referring to European heads of state as “a bunch of politically retarded people.”
After being snubbed from a nuclear summit hosted by Washington in 2010, Ahmadinejad was quoted by Iranian Revolutionary News Agency condemning world leaders saying, “These foolish people who are in charge are like stupid, retarded people who brandish their swords whenever they face shortcomings, without realizing that the time for this type of thing is over.”
Speaking at Columbia University in New York City in September 2007, Ahmadinejad said, ”I think the politicians who are after atomic bombs, politically, they’re backwards. Retarded.”
Iran claims its uranium enrichment program is solely for peaceful, civilian purposes, but reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency have shown that Iran has vastly increased the number of centrifuges in its underground nuclear facilities, raising suspicion that its nuclear efforts do indeed have military intent.
To now, President Barack Obama has relied on economic sanctions as the cornerstone of his strategy to convince the Iranians to stop their nuclear march. Additionally, American and Israeli media reports have detailed the Obama administration’s secret talks with the Islamic Republic led by White House Adviser Valerie Jarrett which allegedly were intended to set the stage for more negotiations after the elections.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has advocated a more hawkish approach, including the setting of red lines. Iran has on multiple occasions articulated a desire to destroy the Jewish state.