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21 Sep, 2007 06:17

Ahmadinejad barred from visiting Ground Zero in N.Y.

The U.S. has denied a request from Iran's President to visit “Ground Zero” in New York when he attends a meeting at the UN.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wanted to visit the site of the September 11 attacks to pay his respects, but the U.S. government says it is just a publicity stunt.

Iran's President generated the lead story in New York City, after making a surprising request, which was quickly refused.

The top Iranian leader will be in town to address the United Nations for the 62nd annual General Assembly.

This marks his third visit to the Big Apple and to the country that accuses him of supporting terrorism.

But in such a diverse city, opinions of the Iranian President  and his request are mixed. That is what some New Yorkers think:

“The president of Iran wants to visit Ground Zero and pay his respects. How do you feel about that? I agree with the paper. He can go to hell!”

“This is the type of thing that starts conflicts anyway. I think we need to talk more, and make less accusation. Telling people to go to hell is not good diplomacy.”

The New York Police Department says Ahmadinejad's request was rejected because construction underway at Ground Zero makes the site inaccessible. Officials also say his presence would create security problems.

Since 1979, the United States barred Iranian officials from travelling outside a 25-mile radius of the United Nations headquarters. The building is located on East 45th street, so technically, according to the restrictions,  Ahmadinejad can travel  throughout Manhattan and there's very little American officials can do to keep the Iranian president from touring New York like every other visitor.

Ahmadinejad has faced international criticism for calling the Holocaust a myth and rejecting Israel's right to exist. He has also raised the question as to whether the 9/11 attacks were an inside job.