Iranian President Invited to Speak at CU

<p>Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been invited to speak at Columbia this Friday, University officials confirmed Wednesday night.</p>

<p>Ahmadinejad, who has been criticized for promoting Islamic fundamentalist rule in Iran, is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly meeting.</p>

<p>University President Lee Bollinger, who learned of the invitation on Wednesday, said in a statement, "I happen to find many of President Ahmadinejad's stated beliefs to be repugnant, a view that I'm sure is widely shared within our university community."</p>

<p>David Stone, executive vice president of communications, said in an e-mail that he understands the invitation came from Lisa Anderson, dean of the School of International and Public Affairs, "as many such invitations to foreign leaders and government officials to speak at the university often do."</p>

<p>Bollinger said he is not sure whether the University will be able to arrange for the visit in such a short period of time.</p>

<p>The Iranian leader has been sharply criticized for some of his statements. At the Council of Foreign Relations on Wednesday, he said he thought "we should allow more impartial studies to be done on" the validity of the Holocaust.</p>

<p>Bollinger said he believes students and faculty will use the opportunity to engage the controversial leader in debate.</p>

<p>"I have no doubt that Columbia students and faculty would use an open exchange to challenge him sharply and are fully capable of reaching their own conclusions," he said.</p>

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<p>After receiving an invitation from SIPA Dean Lisa Anderson, the President of Iran will not speak on campus Friday due to logistical reasons, according to University officials.</p>

<p>Check for updates throughout the day.</p>

due to logistical reasons


<p>Yeah right. I wonder if those "logistical reasons" included irate calls to Lee's direct line by bigwig donors/trustees.</p>

<p>Problem is that this story never should have become a story.</p>

<p>New York City along with Columbia University, after Israel is "wiped off the map" would obviously be the next logical target for nuclear incineration - so it would have made for some good questions</p>