Ahmadinejad Leaves for New York

( Fars News Agency) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left Tehran on Sunday for his third trip to the United States, saying the visit was a good chance to present Iran's solutions for the problems of the world.

Ahmadinejad , who is due to address the UN General Assembly in New York and hold other meetings, said he would be meeting "intellectuals and independent US politicians" on his trip to Tehran's arch foe.

"The General Assembly of the United Nations is a good opportunity to present the solutions of the Iranian people to solve the problems of the world," the president told reporters before leaving.

"The United States has had influence in international relations since World War II but the American people have suffered in diverse ways and have been deprived of access to accurate information," he added.

"We need to take advantage of such opportunities to present the positions of the Iranian people as they (the Americans) are very keen to hear them."

Since taking office, Ahmadinejad has addressed the UN General Assembly in both 2005 and 2006.

During his two-day sojourn in New York, the Iranian president, who will be accompanied by a group of high-ranking officials, is also scheduled to attend bilateral talks with several of his counterparts and meet Iranians residing in the US.

Ahmadinejad is also set to use a speech at a leading US university to challenge George W Bush at a time of high tensions with Washington over his country's pursuit of nuclear technology.

The invitation by New York's Columbia University to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is attracting growing criticism from the US hawks ahead of his arrival on Sunday.

Meetings with the survivors and bereaved families of the 9-11 incident , journalists and critics of the Bush administration are also included in Ahmadinejad's itinerary.

After attending the UN meeting, which will be his third since he ascended to power more than two years ago, the president will leave New York for the Venezuelan capital city of Caracas.

This is while the US administration, in a blatant violation of diplomatic norms, refrained from issuing an entry visa for Iran's ambassador to Geneva and chairman of the Group 15.

Alireza Moayyeri , who heads the Group 15 in Geneva, was due to present an annual report to a meeting of the foreign ministers of the group on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York next Friday.

International rules require the Untied States, as the host to the UN headquarters, to issue visa for other countries' envoys to the United Nations and to refrain from disrupting the operations of the world body.

Due to similar incidents in the past, Iran has called on the UN member states to change the UN headquarters from New York to Geneva or a more convenient and impartial place.

Ahmadinejad is also due to pay a visit to Brazil following his trip to Caracas.

Brazil has made large investments in Iran's oil industries and is among those states enjoying very good political relations with the Islamic Republic. The two countries' trade balance amounts to USD 1bln.

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