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Iranian President to Seek Leniency for US Hikers

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he will seek leniency for three American hikers detained for illegally entering Iran.

President Ahmadinejad says no one can interfere in the Iranian judiciary process. But he says he will ask that the judiciary expedite the case and look at it with maximum lenience.

The hikers have been detained in Iran since July, when they went off course while trekking in northern Iraq's Kurdistan region.

The case has increased tensions with the United States.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Associated Press Tuesday, the Iranian leader urged U.S. President Barack Obama to see Iran as a potential friend instead of a threat.

Both leaders will speak at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to boycott Mr. Ahmadinejad's speech.

The Iranian president does not recognize the Jewish state and has called for Israel to be wiped off the map.

Germany says its diplomats will walk out of the General Assembly on Wednesday if President Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust during his speech.

The Iranian leader has repeatedly called the Nazi mass murder of Jews during World War II a lie.