Posted by Karmel Melamed
During the past three years the Grand Hyatt Hotel and the InterContinental Hotel in New York City have done business with the Iranian regime by hosting and housing Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his visits to the United Nations. This September 15th with Ahmadinejad’s visit to New York coming up, these hotels need to be held accountable for their immoral business practices. American businesses such as these hotels have not woken up to the reality that accepting blood-stained money from the Iranian government that has sponsored international terrorism and pursues nuclear weapons is not a good thing! In an era when most U.S. and Western companies have increasingly been active in moral corporate practices, the Grand Hyatt Hotel and the InterContinental Hotel in New York must be reminded by average individuals to refrain from engaging in business activities with entities like the Iran regime that are criminal.
You may ask why the Grand Hyatt Hotel and the InterContinental Hotel in New York City are being targeted by this blog and other organizations? Well it seems as if both of these major New York City hotels have had a sickening long record of doing business with the Iranian regime and welcoming Ahmadinejad along with his cohorts every time they come to the Big Apple. The following are just a few snippets from articles chronicling how Ahmadinejad hosted lavish parties in the past at these hotels for Iranians and journalists “sympathetic” to Iran’s regime:
“The banquet hall of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in mid-town Manhattan had the feel of an extravagant Persian wedding on Wednesday night. A crowd of over one thousand guests, dressed in formal attire, sat around tightly packed tables munching on Iranian delicacies and chit-chatting casually in Farsi. But the occasion was a dinner hosted by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The guest list, all Iranian-Americans living in the tri-state area, had been drawn up from the database of Iran’s mission to the United Nations and consulate in Washington D.C. Extreme security measures had to be taken so Mr. Ahmadinejad could host his dinner party at the Grand Hyatt that night. Dozens of burly American secret service members, dressed in plain suits with an ear-piece plugged into one ear, swarmed the hotel lobby and the banquet hall standing shoulder to shoulder with Iranian bodyguards. Elevators to the event’s floor were shut down. Uniformed New York City police officers were also present in abundance. Police dogs sniffed around the area and at least 20 police cars lined up outside the hotel, in addition to an ambulance and a fire truck. This was in case of an attack against Mr. Ahmadinejad; one police officer said they had taken shifts securing the hotel all day long”.
- Wall Street Journal, My Dinner With Ahmadinejad, Farnaz Fassihi, September 28, 2008)
“The invitation was on creamy stationery with fancy calligraphy: The Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran “requests the pleasure” of my company to dine with H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The dinner is at the Intercontinental Hotel - with names carefully written out at all the place settings around a rectangular table. There are about 50 of us, academics and journalists mostly. There’s Brian Williams across the room, and Christiane Amanpour a few seats down. And at a little after 8 pm, on a day when he has already addressed the U.N., the evening after his confrontation at Columbia, a bowing and smiling Mahmoud Ahmadinejad glides into the room”.
- Time Magazine, My Dinner With Ahmadinejad, Richard Stengel, September 26, 2007
“The warmer tone colored most of the approximately two-hour meeting, held at the Barclay Intercontinental Hotel in midtown Manhattan. Ahmadinejad then hosted a meeting for American religious figures from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim groups, and tonight he will meet with policy watchers and former U.S. officials in a meeting organized by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. The unusual efforts appear aimed at de-demonizing the hard-line Ahmadinejad’s image in the West, and particularly in the United States, which is leading an effort to seek economic sanctions at the U.N. for Iran’s defiance of a Security Council order to halt the enrichment of uranium.”
- U.S. News & World Report, Iran’s Ahmadinejad: Can’t We Just Be Friends?, Thomas Omestad, September 20, 2006
It is disgusting how these hotels could welcome or even allow international criminals like Ahmadinejad who murder their own citizens, sponsor terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and also seek to develop weapons of mass destruction into their hotel! We as concerned U.S. citizens who abhor human rights violations committed by Iran’s regime need to speak out against hotels like the Grand Hyatt and the InterContinental in New York City for permitting such vile men from having any kind of comfort while they are in the U.S. If anything Ahmadinejad and his goons should stay in the Iranian Mission to the U.N. as a testament to his international isolation and responsible entities like these New York hotels should decline to host the Iranian delegation. We as concerned Americans CANNOT allow members of Iran’s regime to have luxurious comforts in light of their violent crack downs on protestors in Iran after that country’s elections. The regime in Iran and its followers must get the message that they are NOT welcomed in the U.S. as they continue their policies of murdering their political dissidents, state sponsored terrorism and pursuing nuclear weapons.
With Ahmadinejad’s September 15th visit to New York fast approaching this year, the New York-based “United Against Nuclear Iran” (UANI) organization is one of the few non-profits in the country urging every Americans to send a message to these companies asking them to stop doing business with the Iranian regime.
Those interested in more information about their efforts to hold these hotels accountable, can visit: http://www.capwiz.com/unitedagainstnucleariran/issues/alert/?alertid=13730726&type=CU
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August 23, 2009 | 9:40 pm
Posted by Karmel Melamed
Day in and day out, it surprises me how news media commentators and political analysts in the U.S. and Europe have failed to recognize that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamaeni has been slowly consolidating his power in Iran in the aftermath of the recent June elections in Iran. It’s interesting how very few analysts have noticed that Khamenei and his cohorts have used the outbreak of violence in the streets of Iran by student protesters as an excuse to violently clamp down on the protesters who oppose his reign of power, put on sham trials against the protesters and also purge the government of their political opponents.
Just as China’s Chairman Mao purged, murdered and imprisoned members of his own Communist party during his notorious “Cultural Revolution” in the 1960’s in order to consolidate his power, so too is Iran’s Khamenei trying to similarly eliminate those who could challenge is post as the supreme dictator in Iran today. Thus we are seeing Khamenei, with the help of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and other semi-government thugs, having murdered, arrested and imprisoned the protesters on the streets of Iran who have called for Khamenei’s removal and for a new democracy in Iran. What’s interesting is that the Revolutionary Guard, who are different from the country’s military forces and only loyal to Khamenei have been paid off to carry out the dictator’s dirty work.
Again within the last few weeks the mainstream media in the U.S. and Europe have failed to cover the sham show trials that the current Iranian regime has been putting on to prosecute student protesters who had been peacefully demonstrating against the government’s lack of democratic elections. The sham trials are yet another example of how Khamenei and other hardliners in Iran are punishing anyone who has challenged their authority or posses a potential threat to their grip of power in Iran. Hundreds of protesters and individuals labeled as “enemies of the state”, who were arrested during the post-election upheaval or afterwards have been paraded into Iran’s Islamic courts wearing pajama-like prisoners garb and charged with treason against the government. Those charged have had little if no access to defense counsels, no ability to fairly refute the charges brought against them and have already been condemned as guilty by the Iranian state-run media outlets. Interestingly two young Iranian Jews; 19-year old Yaghoghil Shaoulian and 17-year old Saman Kohan are also among those facing charges of treason against the state as they were arrested for rioting during the protests. These young Jews and others charged with “crimes against the state” face a potential punishment of death by hanging!
There is no doubt that these individuals tried in Iran will never have a fair trial, but where are the international human rights groups protesting these sham trials? Where are the European governments speaking out against human rights violations in Iran as a result of these sham trials? Why isn’t President Obama or members of his administration speaking out against these sham trials more vocally? We are hearing and seeing no reaction from the international community and the West because Europe and even the U.S. do not want to upset the already rough waters of commerce that are going on with Iran. It seems as if the international community is perfectly alright with allowing a rogue state like Iran to sacrifice the lives of hundreds if not thousands of innocent individuals wanting greater freedoms. What’s even more frightening is that the Obama Administration, despite the violent crack downs on protesters and sham trials in Iran, is still moving forward to “openly” negotiate with Iran government on the nuclear issue! Mr. Obama called for change in the U.S. and change for freedom around the world since he began his candidacy for President of the United States. Yet now that the people of Iran have answered that call by raising their voices and demanding greater freedom in Iran, Mr. Obama seems to have turned a deaf ear to their calls for help in gaining freedom. Is this the example of how America today demonstrates that it is the beacon of freedom and human rights in the world? I certainly hope not.
August 17, 2009 | 3:45 am
Posted by Karmel Melamed
As a journalist covering Southern California’s Iranian Jewish community, I probably get invited to nearly a dozen community events each month with the majority involving social or religious-based gatherings. I typically take a rain check on attending these events because they are most often than not put together for the sole purpose of young singles to meet one another or for various members of the local Iranian Jewish community to hobnob and show off. Such was certainly not the case this past weekend on August 15th when nearly 400 young Iranian American Jewish professionals gathered for the 30 Years After organization’s Summer Soiree at a private Bel Air residence. For the first time, in a long time I witnessed members of L.A.‘s Iranian Jewish community finally incorporate something productive such as political activism into one of their social events!
Specifically, 30 Years After asked their guests at the venue to sign an official petition calling on California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to have the state refrain from doing business with multi-national corporations such as Siemens that have business ties with Iran’s regime. The following is an excerpt of the petition letter guests at their event signed:
“In response to the violent upheaval that followed Iran’s recent elections, Californians—from throughout the State and from all walks of life—have demanded that their tax dollars not support the government of Iran. Californians are appalled that some of the same corporations that have facilitated and profited from the Iranian government’s brutal suppression of peaceful protectors also pocket millions of our tax dollars every year. For example, according to The Wall Street Journal, in 2008 German conglomerate Siemens sold technology to Iran that the Islamic Regime used to intercept and catalog e-mails and telephone calls when it brutally cracked down on post-election demonstrations. Yet, Siemens, which maintains offices throughout California, stands to profit handsomely from publicly funded mass-transit initiatives in the State. Californians demand that corporations like Siemens choose—either behave responsibly and end all business dealings with Iran or California will no longer consider you as a business partner.
With your leadership, California can make it too financially and politically costly for corporations to do business with Iran. Isolating Iran economically and depriving it of vital foreign capital could persuade the rogue regime that its suppressive policies and nuclear ambitions are too financially and politically costly. I urge you to take action now. History will judge harshly governments and leaders who fail to challenge head-on governments that sponsor terrorism, murder and torture political dissidents, proliferate nuclear weapons, and violate basic human rights”.
Kudos to 30 Years After’s board members for deciding to use their energies for the worthy cause of promoting human rights and democracy in Iran by calling on our state government officials to act more responsibly when it comes to the regime in Iran. Our tax dollars should not go to multi-national corporations who disregard the human rights violations that the Iranian government has been committing more recently and for the past 30 years. We as concerned citizens and California residents needs to hold these companies accountable for their actions and their greed when issue concerning Iran arise.
On a side note, 30 Years After also deserves praise for donating proceeds from ticket sales of their Summer Soiree to the Jewish World Watch organization, Tel Aviv University’s Center for Iranian Studies and Tomchei Shabbos a non-profit provide kosher meals to needy Jewish family in Los Angeles. Here are just some of the shots from the event…