Sept. 24, 2009 -- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, had another door slammed in his face Thursday when a third New York venue refused to allow the Holocaust-denying leader a place to throw a reception while he was in town for the United Nations General Assembly.
On Thursday, the Essex House, a Manhattan hotel, cancelled a presumably alcohol- and pork-free dinner Ahmadinejad planned to host Friday, less than 24 hours after he went on a hate-filled rant at the U.N., which caused members of the U.S. delegation to walk out of the room.
Ahmadinejad and his fellow pariah, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi , have received welcomes as cold as desert nights since they landed in New York this week, each of them cancelling plans after locals demanded they pack up their things.
The hotel said "that no accommodation or banqueting facilities have been booked at the Essex House for the president of Iran or members of his delegation," making it the third place in a week to bow to local pressure.
A nonprofit group called United Against Nuclear Iran says it has spearheaded the campaign to keep venues from hosting the president and successfully encouraged General Electric to divest its holdings in Iran.
"We thank our supporters for sending a clear message to the Essex House that companies that do business with Iran support a dangerous regime and finance an illegal nuclear weapons program," said the group. "We call on other American and international businesses to follow the example of the Essex House."
No Room at the Inn
The Essex House is owned by Dubai's state-owned hotel conglomerate, the Jumeirah Group. Dubai has traditionally had strong diplomatic ties with Iran, but those ties have shown signs of fraying recently.
Two other venues in New York, Helmsley Hotel and Gotham Hall, have in recent days also pulled the welcome mat out from under Ahmadinejad, forcing the pariah president to cancel dinner events he had originally scheduled Wednesday and Thursday of this week.
"As soon as Helmsley corporate management learned of the possibility of either the Iranian mission or President Ahmadinejad holding a function at the New York Helmsley Hotel, they immediately ordered the cancellation of that function," said Helmsley spokesman Howard Rubenstein in a statement.
Since arriving in New York Tuesday, Ahmadinejad has been staying at the InterContinental hotel near the United Nations, though InterContinental would not formally confirm that.
"InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is fully committed to the safety, comfort and well-being of its guests and associates. In the interest of guest privacy, we are not at liberty to reveal or discuss the details of guests or groups staying at any of our properties. This is a hotel and brand policy," said spokeswoman Caroline Counihan.
Iran's Ahmadinejad: Cold Reception in New York
Ahmadinejad, who denies the Holocaust took place and has called for the destruction of the state of Israel, further raised the ire of many Americans in recent months when he cracked down on antigovernment protesters in the wake of an allegedly rigged election.
United Against Nuclear Iran cheered the news.
"UANI applauds the Essex House for declining to host President Ahmadinejad and for refusing to provide him with a venue and a platform for spewing hatred," it said in a statement. "By choosing not to accommodate President Ahmadinejad, The Essex House joins UANI, GE, The New York Helmsley, and Gotham Hall, and the international community in isolating Iran and its thuggish theocracy.
Ahmadinejad may want to compare notes with Gadhafi.
After his plans to pitch a traditional Bedouin tent in Manhattan's Central Park were nixed, Gadhafi tried getting permission to make camp in Englewood, N.J., but was rebuffed.
After renting a parcel of land from billionaire Donald Trump in Westchester County, N.Y., Gadhafi's agents put the tent up there -- but then took it down after local government said they didn't have the necessary permit. Gadhafi again spent the night at the Libyan ambassador's residence on the East Side of Manhattan.