Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Monday, 25 May 2009 18:41 UK

Iran's Ahmadinejad reaches out to Obama

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Ahmadinejad says he wants to discuss global issues with world leaders

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says if he is re-elected next month he wants to have a face-to-face meeting with US President Barack Obama.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he wanted to debate global issues with Barack Obama at the new UN session in September.

But he added that Iran would not discuss its nuclear programme outside the framework of the UN nuclear agency's regulations.

In March, Mr Obama said he was seeking engagement with Iran.

Global issues

Speaking to foreign journalists, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran would never abandon its advances in uranium enrichment in exchange for Western offers to ease sanctions or other economic incentives.

The nuclear issue "is closed", he told a press conference in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

So Mr Obama's hopes for a new and constructive dialogue with Iran on the nuclear issue look as far away as ever, says the BBC's Jon Leyne in Tehran.

However, Mr Ahmadinejad did confirm that he would be presenting to the powers negotiating with Iran over its nuclear programme a package of proposals on managing global issues.

They are likely to include proposals for global nuclear disarmament, our correspondent says.

Last week Iran announced it had successfully launched a new medium-range rocket, capable of reaching Israel and southern Europe.

Iran says its nuclear programme is purely for peaceful purposes, while the US has accused it of trying to develop nuclear weapons.

On the campaign stump for the presidential election on 12 June, Mr Ahmadinejad has compared Iran's enemies to "dogs", saying: "If you retreat, they attack; if you attack they retreat."

Reformist candidates former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi and ex-parliament speaker Mehdi Karoubi are also contesting the race for the Iranian presidency.

The former Revolutionary Guards chief, Mohsen Rezai, is the fourth main candidate.

Analysts say the lower the turn-out, the more likely Mr Ahmadinejad is to remain in power.

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