Ahmadinejad Challenges Obama to UN Debate
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 25, 2009 1:53 PM CDT
Supporters of reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi welcome him today to Tebriz, Iran.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposed a face-to-face debate with President Barack Obama at the United Nations if he is re-elected next month as Iran's president. But at a news conference today, Ahmadinejad balanced the offer with a sharp rebuke to Washington and its allies over Iran's nuclear program. He reiterated that Iran would never abandon its advances in uranium enrichment in exchange for offers of easing sanctions or other economic incentives. The nuclear issue "is closed," he told a news conference.

Obama has urged a "serious process of engagement" after Iran's elections in an effort to end a nearly 30-year diplomatic chill. However last week, the American leader said the US was prepared to seek deeper international sanctions against Tehran if it did not respond positively to the attempts to open negotiations on its nuclear program. Obama set a year-end deadline for Iran to show it wanted to engage with Washington.