News / Middle East

    Iranian President Offers to Meet President Obama

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is saying he is ready to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama during a visit to the United Nations next month. 

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad picked a gathering of Iranian expatriates in Tehran to say he is ready to debate President Barack Obama next month at U.N. headquarters in New York.

    He says he is going to attend the General Assembly and is ready to sit face-to-face with President Obama like a man, and to put global issues on the table, freely, in front of the world media, and see whose solutions are better.

    It is not the first time the Iranian president has offered to meet Mr. Obama, nor the first time that he has challenged him to a debate.  Mr. Ahmadinejad recently criticized the U.S. President for missing what he called "historic opportunities" to repair damaged relations with Iran.

    President Obama offered to "extend a hand in friendship" to Iran in January 2009, if Iran extended a hand in return.  Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has rebuffed President Obama repeatedly, and Mr. Ahmadinejad has frequently resorted to harsh criticism of the United States.

    Mr. Ahamadinejad also criticized Western powers in his speech for new sanctions against Iran in response to its nuclear program.

    He says tells the West it can keep approving new resolutions until that number reaches 4,000.  But he says each resolution you pass is a mark against you.

    Iran denies Western charges it is seeking to build a nuclear weapon.  The United Nations has imposed four rounds of financial sanctions on Tehran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.  Iran says it has a right to conduct enrichment for what it says is its peaceful nuclear program.

    Former Iranian diplomat and London-based analyst Mehrdad Khonsari says Mr. Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders are trying to make overtures to the West in order to slow the building momentum of sanctions.

    "They are very concerned about the momentum that the punitive action (sanctions) against Iran is taking, and I think this kind of talk by Ahmadinejad and other people within the regime is aimed at slowing that momentum, if not halting it completely, because obviously, resumption of dialogue would mean postponement of further action against Iran," Khonsari said.

    Iranian-born analyst Alex Vatanka of the Middle East Institute in Washington thinks Mr. Ahmadinejad may genuinely be seeking to improve ties with the United States, but approaching the matter in all the wrong ways.

    "If you compare Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei versus Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, there is no doubt in my mind that Ahmadinejad is far more inclined to reach out to the United States than the supreme leader is.  But, it is the process," Vatanka explains. "Ahmadinejad makes it very difficult for the other side to actually want to be forthcoming.  He does not set the stage.  Actually, he does the opposite, he ruins it."

    Vatanka thinks Mr. Ahmadinejad continues to try to "please all of his (domestic) supporters," with the usual "bellicose rhetoric against Israel and criticism of the United States," but may not understand that this approach does not work in diplomacy.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.