NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A group of Columbia University students are expected to have dinner with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad next week in Midtown.
According to the Columbia Spectator, the school’s newspaper, as many as 15 members of the Columbia International Relations Council and Association were invited.
CIRCA vice president of academics, Tim Chan, told the paper the Sept. 21 meeting is still tentative and none of the members expressed any reservations about breaking bread with the controversial Iranian leader.
Meanwhile, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, two American hikers jailed for over two years in Iran on espionage charges, could be freed “in a couple of days.”
An Iranian court has set bail at $500,000 for each of the men — the same arrangement that allowed fellow hiker Sara Shourd to go free a year ago.
The hikers all deny the charges and say they may have mistakenly crossed into Iran while hiking in Iraq’s Kurdish region.
On NBC’s ‘Today’ Show, Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that he hopes the release will improve relations with the U.S.
There’s speculation that Iran may have timed the potential release to coincide with Ahmadinejad’s visit to New York later this month for the United Nations General Assembly. Shourd was released last year just as Ahmadinejad made his way over for the annual gathering.
During last year’s visit, he claimed that the United States was behind the 9/11 attacks.
“Some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attacks to reverse the declining economy and its grips on the Middle East in order to save the Zionist regime,” Ahmadinejad said.
President Barack Obama responded by saying, “It was offensive. It was hateful and particularly for him to make the statement here in Manhattan, just a little north of ground zero, where families lost their loved, ones was inexcusable.”
In trying to explain his 9/11 theories, Ahmadinejad said his real concern is for the poor American taxpayer, who after the terror attacks has been shelling out billions for the war on terror.
“We are trying to defend the rights of the American people here so their money is not used to kill people in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Ahmadinejad said.
Would you invite him over for dinner? What do you make of their invitation? Let Us know know below…