Unlike the last few years, Ahmadinejad's annual visit to New York lacked the fan-fare and publicity blitz his aids used to whip up in and among the US media. A major reason for this could be that even the slow US media has finally realized the true source of power does not lie in the presidency, but the leadership. And with the recent clashes, some public and some not so public, between the leadership or Khamenei's factions and Ahmadinejad's group, his position has shown to be of a weakened, lame-duck president who is merely flailing about and trying to simply matter. So his primary and most precious objective of being in the lime-light of the world media was taken away from him.
The release of Shane Bauer and Joss Fattal from Iranian prisons, as expected many months ago coincided with his visit. Perhaps to paint a more humane and peace-loving picture of him. But even that fell on its face. As if keeping the poor innocent Americans for this many years imprisoned in Iran was simply a little misunderstanding that the regime expected people to forget and forgive. But soon after their release, both Fattal and Bauer released statements relating their horrifying experiences inside the prison, how in their cells they heard the pleas and cries of Iranians being tortured and how irrational was the regime's baseless claims for their capture. Any hope of gaining some world sympathy among those with minimal intellect evaporated with this statement.
And to make this issue even more ridiculous is the judiciary's final findings and rule which found the three Americans to be "spies". A charge that carries the most severe punishments in most countries, let alone in this regime. So this charade of conducting a court and charges against the Americans made their release, of course after accepting a $1.5 Million "bail" from Oman on behalf of the United States, a hilariously pathetic display on the part of the judiciary and the whole regime. If they were "spies" how on earth do they get bail and are allowed to travel outside the country? And if they were innocent that justified their release, why were they imprisoned for nearly three years and where is the explanation for this?
And as if all this mess was not enough for Ahmadinejad, he had to cancel a few dinners and a couple of pre-arranged meets with students and universities due to the mounting pressure of the Human Rights activists in New York. Well, he also had to talk to a lot of empty chairs during his speech in the UN. But seeing that every year he is greeted with a 90% empty hall, I'm assuming that didnt really shock him.
During the visit he seems to have indicated his willingness to a more constructive dialogue and line of contact with the US administration and authorities on various fronts. A move that saw immediate and harsh reprisal from both Khamenei and the IRGC in Iran that simply dismissed this as foolish and unlikely. This only underlined the fact that his authority and word carries very little within the system anymore.
Bringing along an entourage of a 100 people, mostly comprising of his family and their extended families, his aids and some cabinet members, their families and basically multiple dozens of people who had no business to be there in the first place, was reflected in the Iranian media and many questioned why he had to take the extended families of people whose duties and job descriptions had no relation to a president's UN speech. Some speculate he brought along people like Mashaei and Baghaei, both of whom were targeted by the conservatives and had been on the receiving end of months of accusations and attacks. Perhaps Ahmadinejad was afraid his close aids (Mashaei, Baghaei and Rahimi) would have been arrested had he left them in Tehran.
This only reinvigorated those members of parliament who were seeking his impeachment vote. An impending impeachment that still hangs over his head. It has not occurred yet only because the leader, Khamenei, sees his over-exuberant endorsement of Ahmadinejad soon after the elections may eventually see many fingers pointed at him and his inability to choose correctly. But all these have not been kept away from the world media. Perhaps another reason he wasn’t well received as before.
Thus was the latest nightmare of a visit by Ahmadinejad to his beloved United States and New York. He and his group may not let on, but they have taken quite a serious beating in recent months and this visit not only didn’t help, but made matters even worse back at home. 2 years left of his tenure and he has turned into a true lame-duck.