After stirring up controversy at the United Nations after unveiling his vision for a ‘new world order’, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad decided to spend some time socking up the Manhattan high-life.
But as the dictator made himself at home at the luxurious Warwick hotel, his hired underlings were rushing around town to snap up bargains and products they can’t get back home at discount stores.
Meanwhile, his fellow Iranian delegates were visiting American chains including the Payless shoe store, Costco, Walgreens and Duane Reade to stock up on shampoo, soap, vitamins and cheap clothing.
A man assigned to work with the Iranians told the Daily News: ‘Since they are under sanctions, they can’t get this stuff. Their money is weak compared to the dollar.’
Tough sanctions have been imposed on Iran as punishment for its failure to cooperate with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency to prove the peaceful nature of its drive to enrich uranium to levels that could be used to build a nuclear weapon.
This has made it difficult for Iranians to get hold of any foreign goods or imported products.
The source added that one Iranian bought a $40 pair of children’s shoes at the Payless store on Fifth Avenue but the purchase nearly wiped out his spending money for the trip.
At a Harlem Costco, they bought an assortment of wholesale shampoos before heading to a drugstore where they purchased more than a dozen bottles of vitamins and Tylenol.
While his staff hunted for bargains, the President booked two full floors at the posh hotel where suites cost up to $1,600 a night and had three personal chefs at his beck and call.
The cooks brought in their own food to cook for Ahmadinejad and his staff – who dine separately on the second floor.
At least a dozen federal officers have been assigned to protect visiting dignitaries at the hotel commissioned by William Randolph Hearst in 1924.
Ahmadinejad has entered and departed the hotel through a security entrance covered by a white tent so that no one can see the Iranian dictator.
During his stay in the U.S., Ahmadinejad has continued to taunt the West, calling for America to stop bullying and encroaching on his nation’s sovereignty, in his trademark inflammatory style.
He spoke at length at the United Nations about his vision for a ‘new world order’, telling the delegates: ‘God willing, a new order will come together and we’ll do away with everything that distances us.
‘I do believe the system of empires has reached the end of the road. The world can no longer see an emperor commanding it.’
He then accused the West of nuclear ‘intimidation and claimed Iran is under threat of military action from ‘uncivilized Zionists’ – in a reference to Israel – saying that such threats are designed to force nations into submission.
‘Continued threat by the uncivilized Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation is a clear example of this bitter reality,’ he said.
As he spoke, protesters swarmed the streets outside the UN building, many of them Iranian-Americans, demanding that Iran’s UN seat be taken away.
An Iranian diplomat had to be escorted from a Manhattan street by police after he was surrounded and threatened by an angry mob of protesters near the United Nations building.
Deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was walking near the United Nations when he was noticed and confronted by the angry mob on Second Avenue near East 48th Street, said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.
He flagged down police officers, who helped him get to a safe spot.
Ahmadinejad’s speech on Wednesday happened to fall on Yom Kippur, the most sacred day on the Jewish calendar, devoted to fasting, prayer and introspection.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement condemning the speech soon after the fast ended.
‘On the day when we pray to be inscribed in the book of life a platform was given to a dictatorial regime that strives, at every opportunity, to sentence us to death,’ Netanyahu said.
‘In my remarks to the UN General Assembly, they will hear my response. History has proven that those who have wanted to wipe us off the map have failed, as the Jewish People have overcome all obstacles,’ Netanyahu concluded.
He will be speaking to the U.N. later today about what Israel perceives as the Iranian threat.
Israel and many in the West suspect that Iran is seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, and cite its failure to cooperate fully with nuclear inspectors. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
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