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Helmsley hotel cancels Ahmadinejad appearance

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — A New York hotel canceled a banquet it was scheduled to host after learning that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was slated to speak.

The New York Helmsley Hotel announced Sept. 17 that the event, booked by an Iranian student group for Sept. 24, would not be held at its facility, the New York Post reported. The hotel said it was unaware that Ahmadinejad would be there until informed by the group United Against a Nuclear Iran.

"As soon as Helmsley corporate management learned of the possibility of either the Iranian Mission or President Ahmadinejad holding a function at the New York Helmsley Hotel, they immediately ordered the cancellation of that function," said Howard Rubenstein, spokesman for Helmsley Properties.

"Neither the Iranian Mission nor President Ahmadinejad is welcome at any Helmsley facility. The Helmsley organization is grateful to United Against Nuclear Iran for bringing this matter to its attention so that appropriate action could be taken."

United Against Nuclear Iran is a nonpartisan, broad-based coalition whose advisory council includes Council on Foreign Relations president emeritus Leslie Gelb; former Bush administration official Karen Hughes; former CIA director R. James Woolsey; and Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations chairman Alan Solow. Its president, Mark Wallace, is a Republican lawyer who formerly worked at the U.S. mission to the United Nations.

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