Thursday, September 07, 2006
No 'steel-cage, grudge match' between Bush, Ahmadinejad


President Ahmadinejad has called for an "uncensored" televised debate with President Bush.

(CNN) -- President Bush and his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, may find themselves in the same place later this month, but a White House official shot down the prospect that the two men would engage one another, face-to-face.

The Iranian president may visit New York as part of the United Nations' annual gathering of world leaders. President Bush himself attended and -- like Ahmadinejad -- spoke at the U.N. last year.

Ahmadinejad himself has taken steps to engage the president, sending him a letter earlier this year and, late last month, calling for a "direct television debate" between the leaders. Iran and the United States have been at odds over the former's nuclear program -- which Tehran calls peaceful and legal, and which Washington deems illegal and a dangerous threat -- among other matters. (Full story)

But White House spokesman Tony Snow, addressing reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday, said that such a meeting would not happen during Ahmadinejad's U.S. visit.

"There's not going to be a steel-case, grudge match between the [U.S.] president and Ahmadinejad," Snow said, noting that Ahmadinejad's invite would be standard U.N. practice. "The president will deliver his speech, and at some other juncture President Ahmadinejad, if the [U.N.] General Assembly so decides, will speak."
Posted By CNN's Washington Bureau: 9/07/2006 01:34:00 PM ET | Permalink
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