Ahmadinejad puts Iran in spotlight during N.Y. trip
Not one to shun the spotlight, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad punctuated his arrival in New York for the U.N. General Assembly by claiming “the future belongs to Iran” and that the United States must recognize his nation is “a big power.”
But New Yorkers recognize Ahmadinejad’s presence and that of fellow heads of states brings something else: gridlock. There will be traffic delays and road closures all around the United Nations in Turtle Bay.
Street-clogging protests also are planned, including one this morning at Ralph Bunche Park on East 43rd Street.
Ahmadinejad has been criticized during past trips to New York over his remarks about Israel and Iran’s growing nuclear ambitions.
“The point is that if we had in fact wanted to build a nuclear bomb, we are brave enough to say that we want it,” the Associated Press reported him as saying yesterday. “But we never do that. We are saying that the arsenal of nuclear bombs [worldwide] have to be destroyed as well.”
About 140 world leaders will be in New York as part of the United Nations summit that sets goals for improvements in areas such as poverty and education by a 2015 deadline.
Among the highlights:
•President Barack Obama is scheduled to attend the General Assembly meeting Wednesday and address leaders again on Thursday.
•Ahmadinejad also is set to address the General Assembly on Thursday.
•Celebrities who act as U.N. Goodwill Ambassadors and Messengers of Peace are expected to attend the summit. They could include Antonio Banderas, Ricky Martin and Mia Farrow.