Group lobbies against Ahmadinejad hotel stay

September 10, 2009

A high-profile advocacy group is campaigning to stop a top New York hotel from hosting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad next week.

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) was founded by diplomats Dennis Ross and Richard Holbrooke, both of whom serve in the Obama administration, and its president is Mark Wallace, a former US ambassador to the UN.

In a letter to the management of the InterContinental The Barclay New York, which was obtained by the New York Post, Mr Wallace wrote: “By accommodating the Iranian delegation, the InterContinental not only endorses President Ahmadinejad’s election, but also turns a blind eye to the regime’s flagrant violations of human rights and its commitment to illegally developing nuclear weapons.”

He asked the hotel to “consider whether the profits for short-term economic gains to be made by hosting the Iranian delegation outweigh the grave implications of supporting a terrorist state”, and called on it to “join the international community in condemning Iran’s nuclear weapons programme and its disregard for human rights”.

Mr Ahmadinejad is due to address the United Nations General Assembly in his first visit to the West since the Iranian presidential election in June, the results of which are still widely disputed in Tehran.

UANI was apparently spurred on by the success of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s campaign this month to stop Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from staying in the Libyan embassy’s property in Englewood, New Jersey, which borders on Rabbi Boteach’s home.

Last updated: 5:13pm, September 10 2009