News & Politics

Mr. Ahmadinejad Is Coming to NYC; You Know What That Means!


Protests. Tons of them.

It has become a common trend now in New York City news that when the sixth President of the Islamic Republic of Iran comes to town for a United Nations gathering, it can only be expected that hundreds of people will meet him half-way with angry remarks and on-the-ground disapproval. Who can forget his speech at Columbia, when President Lee Bolinger dissed the leader right before he went on to speak, calling him a coward and, in more words than none, a piece of shit? Or any of the other protests that have happened outside of Ahmadinejad’s quarters, his car service and the U.N. headquarters?

Well, let us continue this pattern next week as the U.N. General Assembly meets in New York. President Obama will be there, along with hundreds of world leaders, including the guest of honor, Mr. Ahmadinejad, who will be speaking on Wednesday. Expect traffic delays and the same story in the media over and over and over again.

Last year, the Iranian frontman stayed at the Warwick New York hotel. This year, the same is expected so the protestors will gather outside to bash the man 24/7. Rumor has it that the group behind the major protests, United Against Nuclear Iran, is trying to reserve a room inside the Warwick so they can literally knock on Ahmadinejad’s door with an endless list of grievances in hand.

Word of advice to Mr. Ahmadinejad: just Skype in your speech next year.

United Against Nuclear Iran and other Jewish groups are demanding that the Warwick New York denies a room to the leader but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. One organization, the Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center, filed a legal motion with the Manhattan court that ordered the hotel to either ban the leader from staying there or to use his hotel fees to pay the damages for a member that was harmed in a suicide bombing by the Iranian-supported group known as Hamas. A federal judge refused to hear the motion on Thursday so it looks like, as of now, Ahmadinejad has a place to sleep in Midtown.

However, all these attempts are preemptive: the hotel and the Iranian government have not even confirmed that the leader is staying there. That just shows you the vitriol of the protests here when Ahmadinejad comes to town: regardless of actually knowing that he’s actually staying at the Warwick, the protest groups have already chalked up plans to buy a room there and filed legal motions against the hotel.

Before we slip into the boring media narrative mentioned before, we’re going to end on a final note here: New Yorkers do not like the Iranian leader. And that’s that.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 22, 2012

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