Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad isn't even in New York yet, but he's already getting the cold shoulder from the city's businesses as he prepares to address the U.N. General Assembly.
Last week, the Helmsley hotel cancelled a banquet and a speech by Ahmadinejad. Now, Gotham Hall has also reacted to public pressure and canceled his proposed Sept. 25 speech.
United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), which is spearheading the successful campaign to stop Ahmadinejad's speeches in New York, said the Essex House will now be hosting the Iranian president as a substitute for Gotham House.
UANI has called upon Jumeirah Group of the Arab Emirates, which owns the Essex House, to cancel Ahmadinejad's speech immediately.
UANI President Mark Wallace said in a letter sent to the general manager of the Essex House that it should "clarify and reconsider its decision to host the banquet and address and instead decline to provide such a venue for President Ahmadinejad. By doing business with the Iranian government the Essex House is accepting blood money from a regime that brutally suppresses its own people and that is a danger to global security."
Nile Gardiner, a senior fellow who specializes in the U.N. and foreign affairs at the Heritage Foundation, agreed.
"Essex House should say no to the Iranian President," Gardiner told FOX News. "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is one of the most brutal tyrants in the world and a massive sponsor of terrorism and anti-Semitism, with American blood on his hands. No Hotel in New York should be providing him with a venue from which to spread his vicious message of hatred for the free world."
The United Arab Emirates is one of Iran's largest trading partners and just recently signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with the U.S. that is expected to go into force in October. The ranking Republican member on the House Foreign Affairs committe, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, recently criticized the deal saying that the agreement set a dangerous precedent.
United Against Nuclear Iran hopes that its present campaign of naming and shaming will force Essex House and others to reconsider hosting the Iranian President during his stay in New York City.