TEHRAN — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad travels to New York this week for the UN General Assembly, his disputed re-election still sparking violent protests at home and provocative remarks about the Holocaust drawing condemnation abroad.
The defiant leader will be speaking just days before a high-profile international discussion on Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme.
Several world powers, led by Washington, suspect Iran is using its nuclear energy programme as cover to build an atomic bomb, a charge vociferously denied on Sunday by Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Earlier this month Iran submitted a new set of proposals to six major world powers seeking to force Tehran to halt enriching uranium, a process that can produce fuel for power plants but also serve as the raw material for a bomb.
On Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Iran must “now decide” whether it really wants to engage in serious nuclear talks.
President Barack Obama had given Tehran until the end of September to do so or face a possible fourth set of UN Security Council sanctions.
But Ahmadinejad is sticking to a long-standing position, telling US television network NBC on Thursday that Iran is always willing to negotiate over its nuclear programme but will never cease to enrich uranium.
A day later, he sparked fresh international outrage by firing new salvos at arch-foe Israel at an annual … >>>