President of Iran requests tour of Ground Zero on N.Y. trip
BY JAMES GORDON MEEK in
and ALISON GENDAR in New
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Thursday, September 20th 2007, 4:00 AM
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Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is visiting the United Nations
Don't even think about it.
The president of Iran - an accused terrorist, Holocaust denier and proud member of the Axis of Evil - had the audacity to request an official tour of Ground Zero when he's in the city next
The NYPD promptly rejected the idea, but that may not stop Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from visiting the sacred ground.
A pokesman for the Iranian mission to the United Nations said even though the request to visit "Ground Zero and the immediate area" was rejected, hmadinejad still wants to go.
"We are hopeful that we can still work something out with the Police Department" the Iranian spokesman
Just the thought of Ahmadinejad standing on the same ground where the twin towers were destroyed and nearly 3,000
people were killed by terrorists
sickened many victims' relatives,
White House Aides and prominent
"He's certainly an enemy of ours," said Jack Lynch, a retired MTA supervisor whose son, Michael Lynch, a firefighter, was killed in the 9/11 attacks.
"He's a nut. How can anyone deny the Holocaust? His presence is not welcome."
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican presidential candidate, and Democratic hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton were among the U.S. leaders who condemned the proposed visit.
"Assisting Ahmadinejad in touring Ground Zero - hallowed ground for all Americans - is outrageous," Giuliani said.
"This is a man who has made threats
against America and Israel, is harboring Bin Laden's son and other Al Qaeda leaders, is shipping arms to Iraqi insurgents and is pursuing the
development of nuclear weapons."
Clinton said Ahmadinejad was not
welcome because he "refuses to renounce and end his own country's support of terrorism."
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe agreed.
"It seems odd that the president of a country that is a state sponsor of terror
would visit Ground Zero," he said.
Little can be done to keep Ahmadinejad, who is arriving Sunday to address the United Nations' General Assembly, from
visiting Ground Zero like any other tourist. The attack site is about 5 miles from the
A Secret Service detail, provided to heads of state when they visit the U.S., is expected to accompany Ahmadinejad around the city during his visit.
Ahmadinejad - who has said Israel should be "wiped off the map" and has called the
Holocaust a "myth" - reportedly wants to go to Ground Zero at 10 a.m. Monday.
He will go to Columbia University the
same day. The radical leader will debate the university president over his stance on the Holocaust, Israel and whether Iran supports terrorism and is developing
Ahmadinejad made an official request to tour Ground Zero and lay a wreath there through the Iranian mission about two
weeks ago, authorities said.
The NYPD denied his request, citing security and logistical concerns after meeting with the Secret Service and Port
Authority officials, authorities said.
A police spokesman said the NYPD
also would oppose Ahmadinejad visiting
the public area of Ground Zero. The
spokesman said no official request had been received.
The Iranian president is a hard-liner who has denied claims by several Americans that he was among the extremists who took them hostage during the 1979 Islamic revolution. He also has stated recently that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job, carried out with the help of intelligence agents.
"Could it be planned and executed without coordination with intelligence and security services - or their extensive infiltration?" he asked in an open letter to
President Bush in May 2006. "Of course this is just an educated guess. Why have the various aspects of the attacks been kept secret?"
Nikki Stern, whose husband was killed on Sept. 11, said Ahmadinejad visiting Ground Zero would amount to a propaganda stunt. "It would be amusing if it weren't so dangerous," she said.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, told reporters the U.S. would not support Iran's attempt to use the site for a "photo op."
"Iran can demonstrate its seriousness about concern with regard to terrorism by taking concrete actions," he said, such as dropping support for Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and suspending its uranium enrichment program.
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn, Queens) was more direct, declaring: "Iran is a terrorist state and its president is a danger to the world."
So... I'm not sure about this myself. My heart is rather torn. On the one hand, we've got to be the better people. Who knows, perhaps if he goes to see the site he'll have some mirraculouse change of heart. Perhaps the spiritual power surrounding the sight will get to him, and he'll end up crying on his knees.
That's what we can all hope and pray for. However, we know this man to be a terrible man. Is he had his way all Jews and Bahais would be extinguished. In fact, for all we know if he had his way all non-muslums would be extinguished. This is not the sort of man who we can expect to be very suseptable to good spititual influence.
If we let him go and he does not have a change of heart, her may pretend, and try to fool America and the world into being less stern with him and his country. The solution, I think would be to allow him to go alone, with absolutely no reporters or cameras allowed in the vacinity while he visits. If it truely effects him he will lead his country to dramatic change. If it doesn't, there will be not pictures for him to use as propaganda.
Sadly, I doubt this will happen, but I will pray for it anyhow. Myricals have happened before and they can and will happen again.