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Ahmadinejad Says in US TV Interview Iran Does Not Need Nuclear Weapons

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said in a U.S. television interview that Iran does not need nuclear weapons and that he does not believe the United States and Iran are on a path to war.

The CBS 60 Minutes program broadcast the interview Sunday evening, at about the time Mr. Ahmadinejad arrived in New York City. The interview was recorded last week.

The Iranian leader will address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. He speaks Monday at Columbia University where demonstrators are expected to protest his appearance.

Critics say the university should not give him a platform because of Iran's alleged ties to terrorist groups and because of Mr. Ahmadinejad's comments calling for the destruction of Israel. Columbia University officials say the Iranian leader has agreed to take questions and his views will be challenged.

Mr. Ahmadinejad has made controversial comments since becoming president of Iran, including denying the extent of the Holocaust, in which an estimated six million Jews were killed during World War Two. He also has called for the Jewish state of Israel to be wiped off the map.

The Iranian president insists that Tehran has the right to develop a nuclear program, which he has said is for peaceful purposes. The United States and other Western nations accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Some information for this report provided by AP.