Before I get into the previously mentioned subjects, I'd just like to say that this is a Really Bad Idea.
In a move that has stunned New York, the Bloomberg administration is in discussions to escort the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to ground zero during his visit to New York next week, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said today.Should the visit come to pass, one could expect the Mother of All Sit-ins to block the Iranian president's access to the site; a protest action composed of not only 9/11 survivors, friends/relatives of the fallen, otherwise outraged citizens and probably not a few politicians, but scores of Persians/Persian-Americans who have taken refuge in the US in the past thirty years in order to escape the persecution of the Mullahs whose tune to which Ahmadinejad dances.
The Iranian mission to the U.N. made the request to the New York City Police Department and the Secret Service, which will jointly oversee security during the leader's two-day visit. Mr. Ahmadinejad is scheduled to arrive September 24 to speak to the U.N. General Assembly as the Security Council decides whether to increase sanctions against his country for its uranium enrichment program.
Have your token UN visit...Mr. President...then MoveOntm back to Tehran.
(Thanks to Memeorandum)
UPDATE: Charles Johnson says--according to WCBS Radio 880--that the NYPD ain't havin' it. (It appears that the WCBS site is down--for obvious reasons.) I guess Commissioner Kelly had a word or two with NYC Mayor Bloomberg.
Darn. I would have loved to take a trip to New York.
UPDATE: Ahmadinejad will speak at Columbia University after his appearance before the UN General Assembly. From Columbia President Lee Bollinger:
In order to have such a University-wide forum, we have insisted that a number of conditions be met, first and foremost that President Ahmadinejad agree to divide his time evenly between delivering remarks and responding to audience questions. I also wanted to be sure the Iranians understood that I would myself introduce the event with a series of sharp challenges to the President on issues including:Last year, Columbia issued an earlier invitation for the Iranian president to speak, but rescinded it in the wake of a public outcry similar to the response that greeted the proposed Ground Zero visit.
·the Iranian President’s denial of the Holocaust;
·his public call for the destruction of the state of Israel;
·his reported support for international terrorism that targets innocent civilians and American troops;
·Iran's pursuit of nuclear ambitions in opposition to international sanction;
·his government's widely documented suppression of civil society and particularly of women's rights; and
·his government's imprisoning of journalists and scholars, including one of Columbia’s own alumni,
Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh.