NEW YORK (CNN) — City officials in New York have denied Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s request to visit the site of the destroyed World Trade Center next week, a police spokesman said Wednesday.
The controversial, outspoken president wanted to “pay his respects” and lay a wreath at the site of the 2001 al Qaeda attacks during his visit to the U.N. General Assembly, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said, citing Iranian officials.
But workers are rebuilding the foundations of the site, “and it would not be possible for him to go where other people don’t go,” Kelly told CNN.
Iranian officials have not put in any additional requests to visit the public platforms at ground zero, police spokesman Paul Browne told CNN. But, he said, “If there were a further request, we’d reject it” because of security fears.
Why make excuses? The matters of principle involved should be aired unapologetically.
The Iranian mission to the U.N. said it had not been told of the decision, but in a statement issued Wednesday evening, it called the rejection “unfortunate.”
Iran is ruled by a Shiite Muslim government hostile to the fundamentalist Sunni al Qaeda.
But also to Israel and the U.S.
“It is appalling that President Ahmadinejad, one of the world’s leading sponsors of terror, would find it appropriate to visit this hallowed ground,” State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.