Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is due to meet Occupy Wall Street Movement activists during his upcoming visit to New York, where he is slated to attend the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly.
Ahmadinejad is scheduled to leave Tehran for New York at the head of a delegation today in a bid to attend a UN General Assembly meeting and hold talks with senior heads of state who will participate in the meeting.
He is scheduled to start his weeklong visit to New York early on September 22. Manhattan’s Warwick Hotel will host the Iranian President and his accompanying delegation.
Over 150 security officers will guarantee President Ahmadinejad’s security during his stay in New York.
President Ahmadinejad will address the UN General Assembly which is due to start on September 25. Since taking office, Ahmadinejad has attended all annual UN General Assembly meetings.
This year Ahmadinejad will also attend the meeting as the rotating president of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
He also is also scheduled to attend bilateral talks with several of his counterparts on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting.
Ahmadinejad is also set to meet American university students, artists, intellectuals and elites despite the ongoing efforts made by the pro-Zionist lobbies to prevent direct link between American people and the Iranian president.
He has also accepted the interview requests made by several news networks, including CNN, CBS and Russia Today.
President Ahmadinejad has, thus far, visited New York seven times to attend the annual UN General Assembly meetings since he ascended to power in 2005. But this time, he will attend the meeting not just as Iran’s President, but as leader of the 120-nation NAM.
This will be Ahmadinejad’s last visit to attend a UN General Assembly meeting as Iran’s president since he will step down presidency in the next 10 months at the end of his second term in office.
Ahmadinejad’s visits to New York to attend the UN General Assembly meetings have become a source of concern for the US officials ever since his 2007 visit led to a landmark speech at the Columbia University on the sidelines of the 62nd annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.
He gave an outstanding speech about the US, Israel and the existence of the Holocaust when he visited the campus in 2007 for a talk, and he was given repeated applause by thousands of the audience who filled the campus site and the nearby streets up to Broadway .
Whenever Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad comes to New York, protesters pay attention. They know where he’s staying. They stand outside the building when he makes a speech, holding signs calling him a dictator and comparing him to Adolf Hitler.
“We want him to see he’s not welcome here,” said Nathan Carleton, spokesman for United Against Nuclear Iran, which is gearing up for Ahmadinejad’s arrival this weekend for the United Nations General Assembly.
Ahmadinejad, who is scheduled to make a speech at the UN on Wednesday, is expected to stay for the second straight year at the posh Warwick New York Hotel. A spokesman for the hotel did not confirm whether the leader would be staying there. The hotel didn’t confirm his stay there last year, either.
As they did last year, members of United Against Nuclear Iran will be protesting outside and inside, reserving a room in hopes of taking their outrage as close to Ahmadinejad and his entourage as possible.
“We had people walking around the hotel wearing shirts with his face crossed out on them,” Carleton said. The group is working to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
The anger extends to the hotel itself. United Against Nuclear Iran and several prominent Jewish groups had urged the Warwick not to provide luxury accommodations for a man who denies the Holocaust and says the U.S. orchestrated the Sept. 11 attacks, and who has also come under criticism for Iran’s repressive treatment of its people and its support of groups like Hamas.
“No more than you would host in your home a criminal, why would you make it easy here for a rogue regime?” said Daniel Mariaschin, executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International, the Jewish human rights advocacy group. The organization has sent letters to the Warwick asking that it not let Ahmadinejad stay there.
“U.S. businesses are under no obligation to accept the business of any delegation to the UN General Assembly,” he said.
A representative of the Warwick did not comment.
An Israeli legal group representing a New Yorker injured in a suicide bombing who later won a $12 million judgment against Iran tried to go further — filing legal papers asking that the Warwick turn over any money paid by Iran for the delegation’s hotel rooms.
In the motion filed in federal court in Manhattan, Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center had demanded that the Warwick either refuse to let Ahmadinejad stay, or hand over Ahmadinejad’s hotel fees to its client, Stuart Hersh.
Hersh, now living in Israel, survived a 1997 suicide bombing and sued Iran for damages, accusing the country of supporting Islamic Hamas, which staged the attack. He lost part of his hearing and slurs his speech since the blast. “We haven’t been able to collect anything. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s a matter of justice,” Hersh said.
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the law center’s director, said while Ahmadinejad has the right as a world leader to speak at the UN, that “does not give any rights to any war criminal to walk around New York and engage with other businesses that have nothing to do with the United Nations.”
A federal judge on Thursday denied the motion, saying a room reservation is not property and can’t be used to fulfill a legal judgment.
Christopher DeVito, executive director of the advocacy group Iran180, said the organization will have a protest at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza on Wednesday when Ahmadinejad is scheduled to speak. Iran180 wants a change in Iran’s nuclear and human rights policies.
It was unclear what events, if any, outside of his UN appearance are on Ahmadinejad’s schedule, but in previous years, they haven’t been exempt from protest either, as in 2007, when he spoke at Columbia University.