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Protests against Ahmadinejad's arrival in New York

world Updated: Sep 19, 2011 11:08 IST

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Protests against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad preceded his arrival in New York for the annual UN general assembly meet with an advocacy group demanding Columbia University cancel a scheduled dinner with him and condemning the hotel where the leader will be staying.

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) called on Columbia University President Lee Bollinger to cancel the "dinner with Ahmadinejad" saying it is "highly inappropriate for the leader of a prestigious US University to meet with the head of a regime that is defying the international community by pursuing nuclear weapons, ruthlessly violating the human rights of its people and sponsoring al-Qaeda and other terrorists."

In a statement, UANI President Mark Wallace said that Bollinger had hosted Ahmadinejad four years ago under the guise of "dialogue," and Columbia was widely criticised for that "irresponsible decision."

"To repeat the same mistake this year would be a serious affront to New York City and America. Providing Ahmadinejad with a forum to spread his vile and conspiratorial views regarding the 9/11 and Holocaust, among others matters, gives him the very platform and legitimacy he seeks, and will once again significantly harm Columbia University's reputation."

UANI also condemned New York's Warwick Hotel, saying the hotel should refuse accommodation to Ahmadinejad during his stay in the city for the UN General Assembly.

"Do you honestly think it is appropriate to provide accommodations to the leader of such a detestable regime, specifically in the very city where the worst of 9/11 occurred?"

"By choosing to host the Iranian delegation, the Warwick is accepting blood money from a regime that presents an overwhelming threat to global security," the group said.

UANI said it will take action against all Warwick properties worldwide and will call for a general public boycott of all Warwick properties.