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US, Iranian Presidents to Speak to UN General Assembly


President Bush will seek support for his Middle East policies in a speech to the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday.

Both Mr. Bush and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are to address the assembly Tuesday, highlighting the standoff over Iran's nuclear program.

White House officials say Mr. Bush will call on the world to "stand up for peace" by supporting moderates and opposing extremists in the Middle East. He also is expected to defend his call for sanctions against Iran over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.

In the Iranian president's speech, Mr. Ahmadinejad is expected to declare his country's right to peaceful nuclear technology.

President Bush met with French President Jacques Chirac in New York today to discuss the Iran issue. After their meeting, Mr. Bush warned he will push for sanctions unless Iran stops stalling on demands to end sensitive nuclear activities. Mr. Chirac said the U.S. and France have the same approach on the issue.

The United States and many of its European allies believe Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Besides President Bush, Mr. Chirac is the only other leader from the U.N. Security Council's five permanent members attending this year's Assembly.

Aides to Mr. Bush say he also will call for support of emerging democracies in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

The two-week annual General Assembly brings together leaders and senior representatives from the U.N.'s 192 members.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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