Ahmadinejad's dinner invitations come with 1500-dollar sum for 'visibly' supportive guests
Iran's President changes his clothes once a week and hosts plush dinners for those who demonstrate loyalty by their public support for him at events.
Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not only known for changing his clothes only once a week, but for offering 1500 dollars to guests to dine with him.
Last Tuesday, he did this at New York Warwick hotel.
And, he's done so for years during his annual trips to New York to address the United Nations.
"He pays you to come," said an Iranian woman who was among a group of protesters outside the hotel and declined to be identified.
The guests, a selection of prominent expatriates, attended the low-key affair at the Warwick's Murals on 54 restaurant, which was closed the entire week for Ahmadinejad's use.
Such payments are customary, says Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, an influential Iranian activist.
"They basically rent a crowd," she said.
"It's a tradition that goes back to the revolution. They would buy workers lunch and give them money to attend demonstrations in favor of Khomeini: Come and make it look good."
A second dinner on Thursday drew a crowd of university students and professors-one day after a planned dinner at Columbia got scrapped.
- Far from a 'shoe in': Ahmadinejad comes under attack on diplomatic Cairo trip
- Ahmadinejad's smart style under scrutiny as Iran polls kick off
- He's no monkey! Ahmadinejad set to join Iran's space program
- All about jinn: Creatures that dwell in dark places, caves, toilets, and now also in parliaments
- Iranian throws shoes at Ahmadinejad - Not the first or the last Shoe-Thrower