Bloomberg reported that “General Electric Co., the world’s biggest maker of power-generation and medical imaging equipment, signed an advocacy groups statement affirming the company’s policy against conducting business with Iran.
The declaration, from the organization, follows the Fairfield-based company’s decision in December 2004 to end new business in the Middle Eastern country. GE announced that decision amid concern by then-President George W. Bush’s administration that the country was speeding development of a nuclear weapon. At the time, Iran provided less than 1 percent of GE’s annual revenue.”
Reuters reported that “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday the Holocaust was a ‘lie’ and a pretext to create a Jewish state that Iranians had a religious duty to confront.
‘The pretext (Holocaust) for the creation of the Zionist regime (Israel) is false…It is a lie based on an unprovable and mythical claim,’ he told worshippers at Tehran University at the end of annual anti-Israel ‘Qods (Jerusalem) Day’ rally. ‘Confronting the Zionist regime (Israel) is a national and religious duty.’
Ahmadinejad’s critics say his fiery anti-Western speeches and questioning of the Holocaust have isolated Iran, which is at odds with the West over its disputed nuclear program.”
The New York Post reported that “The New York Helmsley Hotel last night abruptly canceled a long-planned banquet for next week after finding out that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was scheduled to attend and speak, The Post has learned.
Helmsley representatives told Ahmadinejad to beat it after being informed by the security group United Against Nuclear Iran that the Israel-hating, Holocaust-denying America basher was going to be in the house next Thursday.
Helmsley execs were unaware that Ahmadinejad — who will be in town for a meeting of the UN General Assembly next week — was involved in the event until informed by UANI yesterday.”
The Guardian reported that “The urgency of dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat was underscored today when a leaked report revealed that the UN inspection agency believes the Islamic republic has ‘sufficient information” to make a nuclear weapon and has “probably tested’ a key component.
A day after Barack Obama scrapped plans to deploy missile defence technology in eastern Europe, the Associated Press said it had obtained material from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which suggests that it was more convinced Iran had been trying to make a bomb than its outgoing director, Mohamed ElBaradei, had admitted. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/18/iran-nuclear-warhead-iaea-report)
The New York Times reported that “Tens of thousands of protesters chanted and carried banners through the heart of Tehran and other Iranian cities on Friday, hijacking a government-organized anti-Israel march and injecting new life into the country’s opposition movement.
The protests, held in defiance of warnings from the clerical and military elite, served as a public embarrassment to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who had hoped to showcase national unity just two weeks before he is set to meet Western leaders for talks on Iran’s nuclear program.”
The New York Times reported that “President Obama’s decision to cancel an antimissile defense system in Eastern Europe earned a strong welcome from Russian leaders on Friday.
Now, the question is whether Russia will do more to help prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, who had repeatedly assailed the antimissile system as a grave danger to Russia’s security, called Mr. Obama’s decision ‘correct and brave.’ President Dmitri A. Medvedev hinted that Russia would respond favorably to the decision to replace former President George W. Bush’s plan with a missile shield seen as less threatening to Moscow.”
Politics Daily reported that “NBC News reporter and ‘Today’ anchor Ann Curry sat down with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Thursday for the controversial leader’s first interview since post-election discontent roiled his country this summer.
Curry pressed Ahmadinejad on several contentious issues, from his alleged theft of the election to his country’s production of nuclear weapons. Her firm questions produced a lot of awkward semantic gymnastics, but few satisfactory answers.
‘Inside and outside of Iran, people are questioning the legitimacy of your presidency,’ Curry asked at a crucial moment. ‘So, it is important to ask you, Mr. President: Did you steal this election?’
Through a translator, Ahmadinejad replies, ‘In Iran — in Iran, expressing one’s point of view is fully permissible. It’s free. And if a person has an opinion to express within the confines of the law, they are free to express such opinions. I don’t see any problems.’
The LA Times reported that “Having shifted to diplomacy to counter Iran’s missile program, President Obama now faces the challenge of turning a still-suspicious Russia into a partner in efforts to contain the Islamic Republic.
Obama said Thursday that the United States would cancel a radar installation in the Czech Republic and ground-based interceptors planned for Poland, both of which the George W. Bush administration had proposed to protect Europe from Iranian long-range missiles. Instead, the Obama administration intends to boost defenses against short- and medium-range missiles, which it believes Iran to be developing more quickly.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that “The president will fly Monday to New York to attend his first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly and then to a summit of the Group of 20 largest economic powers in Pittsburgh on Thursday and Friday.
In both venues, expectations will be high for concrete action to counter Iran’s nuclear program, reinvigorate Middle East peace talks, and shore up support for the war in Afghanistan. Leaders also will be looking for action to counter global warming, revive free trade and strengthen financial regulation.”
Reuters reported that “President Barack Obama’s decision to refocus U.S. missile defenses in Europe on Iran’s short- to medium-range missile threat was based on a revised intelligence assessment that officials said hinged on factors that could easily change.
The new U.S. assessment of how long it would take for Iran to have an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the United States and all of Europe was contained in a classified document sent to Obama some four months before Thursday’s announcement.”
The Washington Post reported that “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton challenged Iran on Friday to come clean on its nuclear program and ease its repression of opposition activists, saying that ‘the Iranian government seeks a sense of justice in the world but stands in the way of the justice it seeks.’ Previewing next week’s meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, at which Iran’s nuclear ambitions will be a primary topic, she told an audience of foreign policy experts at the Brookings Institution that the Obama administration is still willing to engage with Iran. ‘Our message will be clear: We are serious,’ she said. ‘And we will soon see if the Iranians are serious.’” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/18/AR2009091801530_pf.html)
NBC’s Ann Curry interviewed President Ahmadinejad.
WNBC New York reports on The Helmsley Hotel’s Decision to Refuse to Host Ahmadinejad.
CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer on UANI’s Hotel Efforts
Bret Baier on Fox News’s Special Report reported that “A New York hotel has canceled an upcoming banquet after finding out that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was scheduled to attend.
The New York Post reports the Helmsley Hotel pulled the plug on next week’s event after the group, United Against Nuclear Iran, told hotel officials that Ahmadinejad was listed to speak at the function. Ahmadinejad will be in town for the U.N. General Assembly meeting.
An Iranian student group booked the space months ago, but apparently did not mention its special guest. Helmsley Hotel spokesman Howard Rubenstein said: ‘Neither the Iranian mission nor President Ahmadinejad is welcome at any Helmsley facility.’”
The New York Times Editorial Board on Saturday wrote that “Iranian diplomats are scheduled to sit down next month with diplomats from the United States and the other major powers.
There is a lot to talk about, starting with Iran’s illicit nuclear program. Tehran is clearly eager to use the meeting to assert its rising influence and claim the respect it insists it has been too long denied.
The latter argument will be a tough sell, but if Iran’s leaders are truly serious about trying to change international and American opinion, they will have to start behaving like a responsible government.
One immediate step they can take is to release the five American citizens they have unjustly and cruelly imprisoned .
The LA Times Editorial Board on Saturday wrote that “The Obama administration has agreed to direct talks with the government of Iran, along with the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, at a meeting scheduled for Oct. 1. Now the question is: What will they talk about? The United States and its allies want to discuss the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, of course; that’s why they’re meeting. Tehran has proposed a sweeping agenda of global affairs that seems to include everything but its uranium enrichment activities. Human rights activists, meanwhile, are pressing for the group to address Iranian political repression in the aftermath of the contested presidential election, presenting the Obama administration with a potential conflict between U.S. strategic goals of nonproliferation and regional stability, and its interest in promoting democracy and civil rights.”
Gerald Seib wrote in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal that “The great Iran-engagement experiment is about to begin. If it doesn’t succeed, it will be followed very shortly by more of the great Iran-sanctions experiment. That, in a nutshell, is what to expect in the next few weeks in the high-stakes, cat-and-mouse game the U.S. is playing with Iran over its nuclear program. Most of the attention will be placed on the engagement part, which is the sexier follow-through on one of President Barack Obama’s prominent campaign pledges. But keep an eye on the sanctions part; the government’s machinery already is moving on that front.”
David Ignatius wrote in Saturday’s Washington Post that “The central question about Iran, as Henry Kissinger has observed, is whether it wants to be a nation or a cause. In the case of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it’s clearly a revolutionary cause. He has said as much himself in an intriguing and occasionally bizarre series of public letters to America over the past three years. The revolutionary zealotry of Ahmadinejad and his allies is among the obstacles the Obama administration faces as it prepares for Oct. 1 talks with the Islamic republic. As Ahmadinejad’s letters make clear, he doesn’t want a seat at the negotiating table with the great powers; he wants to overturn that table.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/18/AR2009091802144.html)
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