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Iranian president is 'exhausted'

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President Ahmadinejad was seen on TV twice at the weekend

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is suffering from exhaustion, his aides have said.

They were commenting after the Iranian leader cancelled several appointments recently, fuelling growing rumours about his health.

And Iranian state television showed him at two engagements at the weekend.

The president said he was not suffering from any illness. "Thanks to God, I do not have an illness. Exhaustion is possible, but no illness," he said.

"Of course, we are also human beings, and sometimes we catch a cold."

Mr Ahmadinejad's political allies have insisted he will recover in due course, says the BBC's Jon Leyne in Tehran.

He is reputed to work up to 20 hours a day, but usually appears tirelessly enthusiastic, our correspondent says.

However, as one minister pointed out, even if you are immortal you will suffer from working so much, he adds.

This indication that he is only mortal will increase speculation about his prospects for re-election in the presidential poll, due to be held next summer, says our correspondent.

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