Iranian state media claims that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will meet with Occupy Wall Street protesters during his visit this week to New York City, but demonstrators involved with the group say something quite to the contrary.
Fars News Agency reports out of Tehran that President Ahmadinejad has scheduled a meeting with “Occupy Wall Street anti-capitalist protestors” to coincide with his trip to the US, where he is slated to speak before the United Nation’s General Assembly on Wednesday.
Iran’s Press-TV have also picked up the story and quotes unnamed analysts who say Iran is “just one example of the connection between OWS movement and the Middle East, which is based on a common enemy, the governments of the United States and Israel.”
President Ahmadinejad began making his rounds around New York on Monday but has yet to meet with Occupiers. To the America media, members of the protest group say no plans for a meet-up were ever discussed, let alone set in stone.
Asked by New York magazine if a meeting was on their agenda, a self-described spokesperson with the leaderless protest group says there is zero truth behind the rumors believed to have originated in the Iranian media.
“We have no idea who is organizing the meeting and how they came up with this story,” explains Dana Balicki, a Brooklyn-resident who considers herself a member of the NYC OWS press team.
"I've been trying to reach someone from Fars to ask them who they are talking about. Anyone going is doing so as an individual," Balicki tells the magazine. "There is no organized effort on behalf of OWS to meet with Ahmadinejad. This smells like a propaganda effort to me."
Those efforts, Balicki explains, haven’t been all that fruitful. "In fact, when you e-mail them, it bounces and there are no phone numbers listed. Amazing news agency,” she says.
President Ahmadinejad made a brief address in New York on early Monday, during which he admitted to being open to the idea of discussing his country’s nuclear program with US officials, dismissing all the while allegations from Israel that the Iranian nuclear program has an end-goal of procuring nukes.
Israel has relentlessly asked the United States to consider military force against Iran to thwart a rumored nuclear warhead program, but President Ahmadinejad said Monday that he isn’t concerned with their warning.
"Fundamentally we do not take seriously the threats of the Zionists. … We have all the defensive means at our disposal and we are ready to defend ourselves," Ahmadinejad said.
President Ahmadinejad also appeared on CNN Monday evening and is scheduled to speak before the UN General Assembly later this week. On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama said, “the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”