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

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs