Ahmadinejad Feted at Obama Fundraiser’s Hotel
New York – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was feted on Thursday night by left-wing U.S. religious leaders and self-styled pacifists at a gala reception at New York’s Hyatt hotel — which is owned by the family of the Obama campaign’s national finance chairperson, Penny Pritzker.
Several thousand protesters gathered on 42nd street, directly across from the hotel, late Thursday afternoon, including Beth Gilinsky, president of the Jewish Action Alliance; Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy; and the Rev. Keith Roderick, the Episcopal canon to persecuted Christians.
Ahmadinejad arrived at 8:45 p.m., nearly three hours late, and was protected by the Secret Service and Iranian security guards, Newsmax correspondent Kenneth R. Timmerman reported.
Inside, the Iranian president was given a warm welcome by John Brademas, a former congressman from Indiana who rose to become Democratic whip in the House from 1977-1981.
Also welcoming him was Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which was named as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in an alleged criminal conspiracy to fund the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.
Ahmadinejad began his address with an invocation of the 12th imam, according to a source who attended the event.
He made a similar invocation of the 12th imam at the start of his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, adding that he hoped his actions “would hasten the Imam’s return.” He went on to blast Israel and the United States in that speech.
The Mahdivist cult of Shia Islam, to which Ahmadinejad subscribes, holds that the 12th imam will “return” to earth after a period of worldwide conflagration, mass destruction, famine, and starvation.
By calling on his own actions to “hasten” the imam’s return, many scholars of Islam believe that Ahmadinejad is revealing his intention to provoke a world war.
Ahmadinejad has referred to Israel as “a dried, rotten tree that will collapse with a single storm,” and has called on the Muslim world to “prepare for the great war, so as to completely wipe out the Zionist regime and remove this cancerous growth.”
Government buildings in Tehran are festooned with giant banners that read, “Israel should be wiped out of the face of the world” in English and Persian. Similar banners are draped across Shahab-3 missiles when the Iranian regime drives them through the streets of Tehran in military parades, Timmerman reports.
Barack Obama has made negotiations with Ahmadinejad and other dictators a cornerstone of his foreign policy approach, in contrast to John McCain, who believes that the U.S. must spearhead an international coalition to prevent Iran from going nuclear.
Obama has said that he is ready to sit down with Ahmadinejad “without preconditions” to negotiate a sweeping security agreement with his regime. McCain has dismissed this as “reckless,” and McCain’s top foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, has called it “cowboy diplomacy.”