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 Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    Iran Orders Social Media Sites to Store Data Inside Country

    New requirements are expected to affect the instant messaging app Telegram, which has more than 20 million users inside Iran

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora