Iranian president intends to visit Ground Zero; Iranian mission says he’ll go despite NYPD rejection
(New York – WABC, September 19, 2007) – Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad requested to visit Ground Zero during an upcoming trip to New York. That request was rejected Wednesday. But a source tells Eyewitness News that the decision may not stop him.
A law enforcement source says the Iranian mission to the United Nations has informed the Secret Service that the Iranian president intends to visit Ground Zero Monday at 10 a.m.
The source says regardless of the NYPD’s rejection of the request for a Ground Zero tour, Iran’s president and his entourage will be accompanied by a Secret Service protective detail, a detail provided to all heads of state when they visit the United States.
The Iranian mission to the United Nations made the initial request to the NYPD and the Secret Service, who will jointly oversee security during the president’s two-day visit.
Ahmadinejad is scheduled to arrive September 24 to speak to the U.N. General Assembly, as the Security Council decides whether to increase sanctions against Iran for its uranium enrichment program.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the NYPD and Secret Service were in discussions with the Iranian mission about the logistics for the possible visit to the World Trade Center site.
“There has been some interest expressed in his visiting the area,” Kelly said. “It’s something that we are prepared to handle if in fact it does happen.”
The request was rejected Wednesday afternoon in a meeting which included NYPD, Secret Service and Port Authority officials, who said the site is closed to visitors because of construction. They said requests for the Iranian president to visit the immediate area would also be opposed by the NYPD on security grounds.
Kelly said that Ahmadinejad had not indicated why he wants to visit the site of the terrorist attacks of September 11th.
Mayor Rudy Giuliani released the following statement on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
“Under no circumstances should the NYPD or any other American authority assist President Ahmadinejad in visiting Ground Zero. 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. Assisting Ahmadinejad in touring Ground Zero – hallowed ground for all Americans – is outrageous.”
Senator Hillary Clinton released the following statement:
“It is unacceptable for Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who refuses to renounce and end his own country’s support of terrorism, to visit the site of the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil in our nation’s history.”
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