NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In the days leading up to his latest rant at the United Nations, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad laid his head at night at the Warwick Hotel on West 54th Street. Security, as you might imagine, is incredibly tight, but CBS 2 got a camera inside.
As Tony Aiello reports, CBS 2’s camera went through the X-ray machine the Secret Service set up outside the Warwick, where an entourage of Iranians could be seen milling around all day eating lunches provided by a local kebab joint.
All of them were protected by an NYPD SWAT team and snipers up on a rooftop.
Aiello got in to the Warwick with a key provided by activists who brazenly wore anti-Ahmadinejad T-shirts in the lobby.
They set up on the 11th floor, seven stories below where the Iranian leader was staying.
“You know we’ve had some of his entourage ask us questions, see where we’re going,” said Nathan Carleton of the group United Against Nuclear Iran.
The group is outraged the Warwick rented rooms to Ahmadinejad, providing a home base for his visit to the UN, where he made a predictable rant against the U.S. and Israel on Thursday.
“They threaten anyone who questions the Holocaust and September 11th with sanctions and military action,” Ahmadinejad said to the surprise of no one.
Protesters made their point outside, saying the Warwick should have joined others that refused to rent rooms to a man who tramples civil rights in Iran and works for the destruction of Israel.
“I just want to thank the Warwick for a wonderful stay, really great service…” one protester, dressed like Ahmadinejad, mocked.
“I think that it’s obvious that a lot of hotels did not want to host him. Maybe they don’t support him. Maybe they don’t want his money. Maybe they don’t want to deal with this mess that he’s caused at the Warwick,” Carleton said.
Even some local residents raised an eyebrow over the Warwick’s decision.
“It’s a terrible, terrible thing for this hotel to sponsor this criminal in New York City,” Upper East Side resident Jay Rothschild told Aiello.
The Warwick responded with a statement, saying: “We are ready to cater to the needs of UN delegates and other representatives in support of this official event.”
The anti-Ahmadinejad group hopes the Warwick pays a price for playing host, and they noted rooms that were going for $600 a night last week, were going for $400 a night this week.
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