AP: Iranian Americans opposed to Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday denounced his upcoming visit to the United Nations, citing the new leader’s alleged ties to terrorist activities abroad and repressive policies at home. Associated Press
NEW YORK – Iranian Americans opposed to Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday denounced his upcoming visit to the United Nations, citing the new leader’s alleged ties to terrorist activities abroad and repressive policies at home.
“He’s a terrorist and should not be allowed in this country. What kind of message is that giving for him to come here right after the September 11 anniversary,” Shirin Nariman, spokeswoman for the NY Committee against Ahmadinejad (NYCA), said at a press briefing Tuesday.
The briefing was organized by the NYCA to announce its campaign against Ahmadinejad’s plan to address the annual U.N. General Assembly session in September.
The NYCA, which maintains that Ahmadinejad has masterminded terrorist activites and assasinations of Iranian dissidents abroad, has the support of about 40 Iranian-American organizations around the United States, Nariman said.
The group further claims that Ahmadinejad as a former student leader during Iran’s Islamic Revolution in the 1970s led the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
Although six former hostages have said that they recognize the new president from news photographs, a review by U.S. investigators has turned up no conclusive evidence that Ahmadinejad was part of the core group of hostage takers who held Americans for 444 days.
Nariman was joined by other speakers representing Iranian communities in New York, Washington, D.C. and Florida, as well as Americans who spoke in support of the campaign.
Bahman Badiee of the Iranian Society of South Florida called on the United States and the United Nations to block Ahmadinejad’s visit.
“It’s time for the governments of Europe and the United States to heed the call of the Iranian people who aspire to an end to the rule of tyranny,” he said.
Echoing other speakers’ claims that Ahmadinejad did not represent the majority of the Iranian people and held no popular legitimacy, he said “Iran’s UN seat belongs to the Iranian nation, and not to Tehran’s terrorist president and his delegation.”
Calls to Iran’s mission to the United Nations on Tuesday were not immediately returned.
Ahmadinejad, the former mayor of Tehran, defeated more reform-minded candidates in a presidential contest in June. The United States has criticized the election as undemocratic.
U.S. President George W. Bush has said Ahmadinejad would receive a U.S. visa to attend the United Nations General Assembly in September. As the host nation for the United Nations, which is headquartered in New York, the United States is obligated under U.N. rules to approve visas to foreign leaders regardless of their relations with the United States.
“We have an agreement with the United Nations to allow people to come to meet, and I suspect he will be here to meet at the United Nations,” Bush said earlier this month.