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Iranian diplomat seeks safety from protestors

Iranian diplomat seeks safety from protestors
An Iranian diplomat was escorted from a Manhattan street by New York police after he was surrounded and threatened by an angry mob of protesters near the United Nations.

Deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was walking near the United Nations yesterday when he was noticed and confronted by the angry mob on Second Avenue near East 48th Street, said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne. He flagged down police officers, who helped him get to a safe spot.

Browne said the threats were believed to have been verbal.

The incident followed a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the UN General Assembly. Outside the building, thousands of anti-Ahmadinejad demonstrators rallied in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza opposite the world body.

Ahmadinejad, known for past fiery denunciations of the United States and Israel, said before the General Assembly that there is a ‘continued threat by the uncivilised Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation.’

Outside, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who ran for president earlier this year, challenged President Barack Obama to take stronger action against Iran as it threatens to become a nuclear power.

However, he did praise the Obama administration for recently taking the Iranian dissident group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MEK, off the US terrorist watch list.

The group is a major anti-Ahmadinejad force that was allied with Saddam Hussein in the 1980s.

A coalition of Iranian-American groups organised the protest against Ahmadinejad, one of the largest gatherings staged against the Iranian leader in recent years during the General Assembly.


ASSANGE ON THE FRINGE

Foreign ministers from Britain and Ecuador say they plan to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as a standoff over his future enters its 100th day. The two countries said British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Ecuador’s foreign minister Ricardo Patino would hold talks on Thursday. Assange, who is seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over sex crimes allegations, has been sheltered inside Ecuador’s embassy in London – beyond the reach of British police  – since he fled there on 19 June. Ecuador has granted Assange asylum, but he will be arrested by police if he steps outside the building. Assange yesterday was addressing a sideline meeting at the UN via a videolink from Ecuador’s London embassy.
AP

AP

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