Ahmadinejad wants debate with Obama on global issues | world | Hindustan Times
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Ahmadinejad wants debate with Obama on global issues

world Updated: May 26, 2009 14:45 IST

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expressed his desire to hold a debate on global problems with his US counterpart Barack Obama at the United Nations.

Ahmadinejad told foreign reporters in Tehran on Monday that if he was re-elected president, he "will invite Obama to a debate on the root causes of global problems", Mehr news agency reported.

The Iranian leader went on to say that he had invited former US president George W. Bush to hold talks on global issues when he was in New York to address the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly Sep 23 last year.

All people and major powers should change their approach toward global issues because this is the "only way to establish lasting world peace", he said.

However, Ahamdinejad balanced his offer to have a debate with Obama with a sharp rebuke to the US and its allies over Tehran's nuclear programme.

He made it clear that Tehran would never halt its uranium enrichment programme in exchange for international offers. The "nuclear issue is closed", he said in a press conference, his last as the president of Iran.

In April, Obama called for a "serious process of engagement" after Iran's elections in an effort to end a nearly 30-year diplomatic chill between the two nations.

However, the American leader said last week that Washington would seek for stringent sanctions against Tehran if it did not respond positively to the initiatives towards talks on the controversial nuclear programme.