Gregory Nelson of Fayetteville, with an Arkansas flag decal sewn on his vest, is drawing headlines in New York today for saying he punched an Iranian official in the stomach during an anti-Iran demonstration in the city after a speech by Iran's president to the UN.
“It felt really good,” said Nelson, 50, after delivering his shot to the Iranian bigwig’s stomach. “It wasn’t that hard, but he felt it.”
Nelson was flanked by a horde of protesters, many of them Iranian immigrants demanding democracy in their homeland, when Mehmanparast walked past after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s United Nations speech.
The former Army National Guard member, doing his best Mike Tyson impression, saw an opening and swung at the spokesman’s midsection before he could escape.
“We don’t usually conduct ourselves like that, but he’s a murderer,” said the bearded, ponytailed Nelson. “That whole regime, everybody is responsible for the murders that go on.”
The widower came up from his Fayetteville, Ark., home to join thousands of boisterous demonstrators gathered outside the UN as Ahmadinejad spoke inside to the General Assembly.
UPDATE: Here we go. Iran is blaming this on a "terrorist sect." But this story also quotes the police as downplaying the contact:
The New York police characterized the incident involving Mehmanparast differently. There were no arrests.
“He was verbally accosted by anti-regime protesters who apparently recognized him,” Browne said. “While there was some pushing and shoving, we are not aware of any assault involved, despite one protester’s claim to have punched the diplomat in the stomach.”
More from New York Times.
There's a 50-year-old named Greg Nelson on Facebook whose page mentioned Tuesday that he was heading to New York to protest at the UN. His activities include the National Council of Resistance of Iran and includes the photo below. Tats appear to match with those in the Daily News photo of a smiling protester Nelson.