Protests surround Ahmadinejad’s NYC visit

Sep 20, 2012, 10:50 PM

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) – 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.


Associated Press writers Larry Neumeister in New York and Aron Heller and Tia Goldenberg in Jerusalem contributed to this report.


Follow Deepti Hajela at

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 23, 2024, in Washington...

Associated Press

Regulator proposes capping credit card late fees at $8, latest in Biden campaign against ‘junk fees’

NEW YORK (AP) — The Biden administration announced a rule Tuesday to cap all credit card late fees, the latest effort in the White House push to end what it has called “junk fees” and a move that regulators say will save Americans up to $10 billion a year. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Wall Street inches lower as retailers post holiday numbers

Wall Street pointed modestly lower Tuesday as more retailers post results from the holiday season and ahead of appearance by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell before Congress later this week. Futures for the S&P 500 slipped 0.3% and futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2%. Momentum has slowed for U.S. stocks after hitting […]

7 hours ago

A San Francisco Police Department officer walks around Union Square, Friday, March 1, 2024, in San ...

Associated Press

San Francisco votes on measures to compel drug treatment and give police surveillance cameras

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Voters in San Francisco will weigh in on a pair of public safety measures on Tuesday’s ballot that reflect frustration over crime and drug use in the politically liberal city, including a proposal to compel treatment for adults using illegal drugs who receive cash welfare benefits. The other ballot measure would […]

8 hours ago

FILE - Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón speaks during a news conference Feb. 22,...

Associated Press

LA County’s progressive district attorney faces crowded field of 11 challengers in reelection bid

LOS ANGELES (AP) — One of the country’s most progressive prosecutors, who faced two recall attempts within four years, is set to be tested as he seeks reelection against 11 challengers to remain the district attorney of Los Angeles County. Tuesday’s nonpartisan primary pits incumbent George Gascón against opponents who range from line prosecutors in […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Californians to vote on measure governor says he needs to tackle homelessness crisis

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Californians are set to vote Tuesday on a statewide ballot measure that is touted by the governor as a major step to tackle homelessness and would be the first major update to the state’s mental health system in 20 years. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom says Proposition 1 is needed to tackle […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Alabama lawmakers aim to approve immunity laws for IVF providers

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers, who face public pressure to get in vitro fertilization services restarted, are nearing approval of immunity legislation to shield providers from the fall out of a court ruling that equated frozen embryos to children. Committees in the Alabama House of Representatives and the Alabama Senate on Tuesday will debate […]

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.


Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Protests surround Ahmadinejad’s NYC visit