Ahmadinejad calls for Obama meeting

Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yesterday he is ready to meet "face-to-face" with Barack Obama in a televised debate over their countries' disputes. The Iranian leader plans to visit New York for the next UN Assembly in September.

During the trip, "we are ready to sit with his excellency Obama, free and before media, to put the world's issues on the table to find out whose solution is better," Ahmadinejad told visiting Iranian expatriates live on state TV.

Ahmadinejad has repeatedly proposed televised debates with American presidents, an offer dismissed by Washington. The US accuses Tehran of seeking to build a nuclear weapon, a claim Iran denies. The UN has imposed financial sanctions on Tehran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, which can produce fuel for a reactor or a warhead. Iran says it has a right to conduct enrichment for what it says is its peaceful nuclear program.