Tags: Ahmadinejad | new | york

Ahmadinejad Fallout Lingers in Big Apple

Sunday, 30 Sep 2007 09:47 PM

By Stewart Stogel

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UNITED NATIONS - "Yes, he felt the victim."

That was a snap assessment by one Iranian reporter about the treatment President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad received during his recent three-day visit to New York City.

The controversial Iranian leader left New York Wednesday to visit his "comrade-in-arms," Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, before returning to Tehran.

Chavez, another "toast" of the NYC press corps, decided at the last minute to cancel his annual visit to the U.N. General Assembly, leaving Ahmadinejad alone to capture the spotlight.

The "fallout" from that visit continues to land days later.

From the combative "lecture-debate" at Columbia University, to the free-for-all news conference at U.N. headquarters the next day, many are still trying to figure out just what was going on.

"It (the confrontations) played right into his (Ahmadinejad's) hands," proclaimed a member of the presidential entourage who asked that his name not be released.

He further explained that while Ahmadinejad's publicity in NYC was overwhelmingly negative, overseas it had a much more positive tone.

"Yes, we feel his visit was seen in a much more positive light and his U.S. treatment more negative," he added.

The explanation offered was that the constant confrontations between Ahamdinejad and his hosts, not only breached professional courtesies, but looked as if they were trying to deny his right of free speech.

"Whether you like it or not, he (Ahmadinejad) is still the elected president of Iran and as such deserves some respect," he said.

"Would you like President Bush to have been treated like that?" asked another Iranian reporter.

That was a point made several times by the Iranian leader himself before he left NYC.

He also told New Yorkers he'll be back next year, if not sooner.

The president also left several key members of his entourage in New York to conduct "private" meetings with U.N. diplomats.

The Security Council is working to impose new sanctions on Iran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.

Tehran says the activity is peaceful, but Washington insists it is to build a secret atomic bomb.

Meanwhile, at the U.N., an investigation into the melee at the Ahmadinejad news conference continues.

Karnit Goldwasser, the wife of an Israeli soldier, Ehud Goldwasser, crashed the event.

The soldier, kidnapped by Hezbollah last year, has not been seen or heard from since.

His kidnapping, along with two others, led Israel to bombard and invade Lebanon last year.

The soldier's release was also a condition of the U.N.-brokered cease-fire.

It has yet to happen.

As such, the Iranian president was confronted as to what he knew about the fate of the captured Israelis.

A grinning Ahamdinejad ignored the repeated calls to answer the questions until the U.N. (under the demand of Iran's U.N. mission), ejected the Israeli from the conference room.

Protests have been filed and the U.N. is now "investigating" the "circus."

One UN security officer present at the newsconference called it a "disgrace."

"He had no control. He did not know what he was doing," the official lamented.

He was referring to Kiyotaka Akasaka the recently appointed chief of the U.N.'s department of public information (DPI) and Ahmadinejad's official host.

It was Akasaka who gave the order to eject Karnit Goldwasser.

But how did Goldwasser get into the U.N. and into the news confernece?

UN sources tell NewsMax that Goldwasser had a U.N. "delegates" ID card.

The ID card was listed to Israel's U.N. mission.

It seems that Goldwasser was a made a "diplomat for the day" says the U.N.

So now the U.N.'s PR chief had an Israeli "diplomat" ejected from a news conference by the Iranian president.

An international incident? A threat to international peace and security, joked some diplomats?

Who at Israel's mission "signed off" on the ID card is not clear, but it could not have happened without the approval of Ambassador Dan Gillerman,

explains the U.N.

Gillerman was not available for comment.

The mystery deepens.

The Iranian newsconference was only open to press and members of Iran's United Nations mission.

U.N. security officers deflected several attempts by various diplomats to enter the meeting, yet Goldwasser who presented the very same diplomatic ID to the very same security officers was allowed to pass.

Why?

Nobody is saying.

The Iranians want answers.

U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe deflected any questions, sheepishly replying that "an investigation is under way."

Israel's foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, who is believed to have been a major "backer" of many of the anti-Ahmadinejad NYC protests last week will

herself address the U.N. this week.

Stay tuned.

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