Friday, September 21, 2007

Ahmadinejad will not 'insist' on Ground Zero visit

From the NYTimes

Iranian President Says He Will Not Insist on a Ground Zero Visit

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran indicated to CBS’s “60 Minutes” in an interview to be broadcast Sunday that he would not insist on his plan to visit ground zero over the objections of the New York authorities. CBS just released a partial transcript of the interview by Scott Pelley, which will be broadcast at 7 p.m. Sunday.

In the interview, Mr. Ahmadinejad said he just wanted to pay his respects at the site and was “amazed” by Americans who viewed his plans as insulting.

Here is the excerpt released by CBS:

Mr. Pelley: Mr. President, do you intend to press your request to visit the World Trade Center site?

Mr. Ahmadinejad: Well, it was included in my program. If we have the time and the conditions are conducive, I will try to do that.

Mr. Pelley: But the New York Police Department and others do not appear to want you there. Do you intend to go there anyway?

Mr. Ahmadinejad: Well, over there, local officials need to make the necessary coordinations. If they can’t do that, I won’t insist.

Mr. Pelley: Sir, what were you thinking? The World Trade Center site is the most sensitive place in the American heart, and you must have known that visiting there would be insulting to many, many Americans.

Mr. Ahmadinejad: Why should it be insulting?

Mr. Pelley: But the American people, sir, believe that your country is a terrorist nation, exporting terrorism in the world. You must have known that visiting the World Trade Center site would infuriate many Americans.

Mr. Ahmadinejad: Well, I’m amazed. How can you speak for the whole of the American nation?

Mr. Pelley: Well, the American nation–

Mr. Ahmadinejad: You are representing a media and you’re a reporter. The American nation is made up of 300 million people. There are different points of view over there.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said today that Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, would not be permitted to visit ground zero on Monday, even as questions remained over whether the city had the legal authority or practical ability to prevent Mr. Ahmadinejad from going to the publicly accessible areas around the World Trade Center site.

At a news conference, Mr. Kelly responded to the uproar that emerged after he disclosed on Wednesday that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s aides had discussed the possibility of a visit by the Iranian leader to ground zero.

“Our position is that President Ahmadinejad will not be permitted to go to ground zero,” Mr. Kelly said. “This has been communicated to the Iranian Mission.”

But the city has evidently been defining “ground zero” narrowly, as the World Trade Center site itself, which is not open to the public because of the construction under way. When asked how the Police Department would respond if Mr. Ahmadinejad went to the public areas around ground zero, which are open to tourists and the general public, Mr. Kelly responded: “I don’t want to get into the hypothetical situations, you know. That’s our position. We’ve communicated that position.”

The police commissioner said that a visit to ground zero by Mr. Ahmadinejad would “adversely impact” public safety.

“We are concerned about President Ahmadinejad’s safety and the safety of others who may be attracted down there, maybe issues that arise from his visit, that would cause significant public safety concerns,” he said, adding that the police had not received any specific threat directed at Mr. Ahmadinejad.

As the head of his country’s delegation to the United Nations, Mr. Ahmadinejad would ordinarily have the right to move fairly freely within Manhattan. The United States broke off relations with Iran in 1980 during the hostage crisis, and Iranian diplomats at the United Nations are permitted under diplomatic protocols to travel within 25 miles of Columbus Circle. Lower Manhattan is less than 5 miles from Midtown.

Mr. Kelly seemed to acknowledge the sensitivity and strong emotions associated with the situation, at one point referring to his department’s decision as a “direction” and at another point as a “recommendation.” He said he believed the Iranians would comply with his department’s wishes. “We’ve given that information to the Iranian mission and we believe they’re
going to adhere to that recommendation,” he said.

Even leaving aside the issue of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s movements, the police have been bracing for the United Nations General Assembly meeting next week. Streets around the world body’s headquarters complex on the East Side of Manhattan will be closed, including parts of First Avenue and 44th Street. The city is also preparing for a concentration of protests at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza.

“New Yorkers have seen this before,” Mr. Kelly said. “That is what happens as a result of the U.N. General Assembly coming here every year.

BagelBlogger: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is so out of touch, he cant even imagine that people would be repulsed by the idea of him visiting Ground Zero. Here is a man that espouses that the US 300million people have varying points of view and have a right to express them yet ironically is the leader of one of the most oppressive regimes in the world.

His lack of insight is staggering, just the kind of guy you want to have nuclear weapons in the middle east.


blank 3

blank 3

blank 2

blank 2

blank 1

blank 1

Hot Tips?

Send an Email

Mr Bagels Buddies

Bagels Buds