08.16.11 5:44 PM ET
Hotels Should Ban Ahmadinejad
This September, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his delegation will once again visit New York City to attend the annual United Nations General Assembly. As always, expect Ahmadinejad to make a big splash with his normal bombast and conspiratorial flourish. It is worth recalling that in his speech before the assembly last year, he despicably claimed that the U.S. orchestrated the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against its own citizens. And just this July, the U.S. government for the first time outlined Iran’s alliance with America’s public enemy No. 1, al Qaeda. In this secret relationship, revealed by the Treasury Department, al Qaeda is operating a network on Iranian soil to transfer money, arms, and fighters to its bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Now, with the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaching, it seems appropriate to once again ask which Manhattan hotel will dare accommodate Ahmadinejad.
Last year, that dubious distinction was bestowed upon the Hilton Manhattan East Hotel after it decided to host Ahmadinejad and his accompanying mammoth security detail, which dwarfed that of all other 140 foreign heads of state attending. For its irresponsible decision, Hilton understandably received a great deal of negative publicity in the media, and its guests were unfairly burdened by the hotel’s strict security measures. During his stay, Ahmadinejad also found the time to attend a “Monster’s Ball” of radical American extremist groups at the luxurious Warwick Hotel in midtown Manhattan.
Clearly, no American-based venue should host this man, the leader of a criminal regime that flouts international law by pursuing an illegal nuclear-weapons program, sponsoring terrorism, and abusing its own citizens. For this reason, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is launching its “Hotels Campaign” for the third consecutive year. UANI hopes to prevent Ahmadinejad and his delegation from staying in any Manhattan hotel or venue this year. If he insists on coming to New York to spread his vitriolic hate, then he can no doubt stay in diplomatic accommodations at Iran's mission to the United Nations. International law requires only that he receive an entry visa, not maid service.
The need to isolate the Iranian regime has only grown more urgent since last year. Ahmadinejad has in the past year issued proclamations to rapidly expand uranium production, and the Iranian regime has been funneling high-tech weaponry to insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan that are killing American troops. At the same time that he criticizes the U.S., Ahmadinejad and his thugs continue to wantonly murder and oppress their own citizens, executing an average of almost two people a day in the first half of 2011 in order to intimidate those seeking greater freedom.
Can any hotel honestly think it appropriate to provide accommodations to the leader of such a detestable government, specifically in the very city where the worst of 9/11 occurred?
By denying Iran’s delegation accommodations, New York’s hotels can send a powerful message that American businesses care about more than just dollars. A number of U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have increasingly noted that sanctions against Iran are working to slow the development of its nuclear program. Now, by refusing to host Ahmadinejad during his visit to New York, hotels and other venues can help isolate the Iranian regime and join the growing number of companies that have severed ties with Iran.
New Yorkers, and by extension all Americans, should not tolerate Ahmadinejad’s conspiratorial claims in the shadow of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and should not look kindly on any venues that provide him with comfort and accommodations during his stay in New York City. The least the hospitality industry can do this September is to ensure that Ahmadinejad and his cohorts, who have allied themselves with al Qaeda, receive none.