National Review | September 27, 2010
By Ali Alfoneh
Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not have many friends, especially not in Iran. But in the distant United States, he appears to have quite a fan club. Take professors Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, whose class Ahmadinejad recently granted an interview. Or consider the recent televised dinner party for Iranian-Americans hosted by Ahmadinejad during his latest visit to the U.N. General Assembly. On minute 0:55 of the video, a lady dressed in a black manteau and headscarf says with tears in her eyes, “You don’t know what you have! If you appreciated it.… If I see the soil of Iran I’ll kiss it!” This lady is none other than Ghazal Omid, author of Living in Hell: A True Odyssey of a Woman’s Struggle in Islamic Iran Against Personal and Political Forces; she regularly appears on Fox News as a critic of the Islamic Republic. Her “struggle” against “political forces” has apparently not prevented her from accepting a dinner invitation from the president of the “Hell” from which she escaped.
Video of the dinner with Ahmadinejad:
On minute 1:01 of the video, another lady expresses her devotion to Ahmadinejad: “First of all, I see His Excellency Mr. Ahmadinejad, to whom I am deeply devoted. I love him very much.” Asked why, she says: “He always defends Iran in such a way that I too [believe I] can gather the courage to defend Iran. I am an author here [in the U.S.].” This lady is Soraya Sepahpour Ulrich, who usually presents herself as an “independent researcher, public speaker, radio commentator, political columnist, and peace activist.” The same “independent” Ulrich recently accused Mehdi Khalaji, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, of “solicit[ing] sympathy from Iranians and Americans while betraying both nations.” Ulrich’s poison pen wrote these lines as Mehdi Khalaji’s father, Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Khalaji, was being held in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin prison because he had the audacity to condemn the Islamic Republic’s murder and arrest of protesters in the wake of the fraudulent June 12, 2009, presidential election. I am glad that Ulrich has proven her “independence” by declaring her devotion to Ahmadinejad on camera.