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

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    Diplomats Hope to Revive Cradle of Civilization After Defeat of IS

    Diplomats from around globe gather at US State Department, discuss how to rebuild minority communities shattered by Islamic State group

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100% Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100% Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora