Criticism in Iran of Ahmadinejad's 100-plus UN entourage
An Iranian MP has criticised the country's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for taking over a hundred people with him to the UN general assembly in New York, saying the large entourage had travelled there for "a picnic".
At a time when many Iranians are struggling with economic hardship because of sanctions, up to 140 people are thought to have joined their president on his final visit to New York. Most of them are staying at the city's luxurious Warwick hotel, where suites can cost up to US$1,600 (HK$12,400) a night.
Initially, visas were requested for some 160 people, but the semi-official Fars news agency reported that about 20 applications were turned down, including those for members of his cabinet and two ministers. Other Iranian sources have put the numbers of those barred at as high as 60.
In recent days, Iranian parliamentarians and media have spoken against the number of people travelling along with the president to a country Iranian leaders depict as their sworn enemy.
"Many of [the people accompanying the president] have only travelled there for a picnic," said the deputy head of the parliamentary committee on national security, Mansour Haghighatpour, according to the semi-official Ilna news agency.