Ahmadinejad Accepts Obama’s Offer for Debate

A00503727.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has offered to take on US presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain in a debate.

The president made the suggestion in an interview with CNN’s Larry King.

In the pre-recorded piece he said he would be happy to discuss international affairs with both candidates in front of the world’s media.

According to a transcript of the CNN interview, Ahmadinejad said he had no favorite in the race but hoped that whoever wins in November would bring about “some changes in policy”.

“We believe that these are issues relating to the domestic affairs of the United States. And decisions pertaining to that must be made by the American people,” he said.

When asked whether Obama’s proposal to meet would interest him, Ahmadinejad said he does not rely on the promises candidates make in the “campaign period”.

“(During this time,) anyone can say anything. So we disregard that. What matters is that once someone is in office, we have to watch and see if that person will bring about some changes in policy or continue the same old path,” he expounded.

Barack Obama has said in the past he would meet the Iranian leader – a policy Republicans seized upon as proof of his lack of experience in foreign affairs.

Obama and McCain are both preparing for their first presidential clash in Mississippi at the end of the week.

The Iranian president also voiced his interest in friendly and just relations with Washington, regardless of who is in charge of the White House.

But, Ahmadinejad called on both candidates to keep away from the doings of earlier US administrations, which “inspired (Iraqi dictator) Saddam (Hussein) to attack Iran”.

“We have always been interested in having friendly relations,” Ahmadinejad said, adding that “throughout history (Iran) has demonstrated that it is a nation that is for peace and friendly with others.”

The United States is no exemption, he added.

The United States and Iran broke diplomatic relations in April 1980, after Iranian students seized the United States’ espionage center at its embassy in the heart of Tehran. The two countries have had tense relations ever since.

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