** Iran Today ** Summary of News for Events in Iran - English

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Iran   Today   election   jnune   12   12th   tehran   riots    

After his reelection as Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad extends an invitation to his American counterpart Barack Obama for a debate before the eyes of the world. Addressing Iranian heads of medical universities on Saturday, President Ahmadinejad offered to debate President Obama at the United Nations headquarters in New York before the eyes of all nations of the world. President Ahmadinejad had previously urged a debate with former US president George W. Bush. The Iranian president wrote an 18-page letter to President Bush in 2006 that touched on religious values, history and international relations. The letter was viewed as an offer extended to the United States for dialogue. However, the Iranian official's letter never received an answer from the former US president. Under the former US president, Washington pursued a carrot-and-stick policy toward Tehran over its nuclear program and by setting preconditions, snubbed calls by President Ahmadinejad for talks on the long-standing dispute. Meanwhile President Obama has adopted a new tone for engaging Tehran, drawing a sharp line between his foreign policies regarding Iran and that of his predecessor. The call for talks come as earlier in February, Ahmadinejad expressed willingness for dialogue but stressed that negotiations should be held "in a climate of fairness with mutual respect." Earlier in May a report by the Israeli daily Haaretz said the United States had set October as its deadline for engaging Iran in the first round of talks over the country's nuclear activities. The report quoted the special US envoy on Iran, Dennis Ross, as saying that "unless the US sees a change in Iran's position on its nuclear program, Washington's stance toward Tehran will stiffen at that time." An Iranian lawyer has said that his client Hossein Rassam, a British Embassy staffer who remains detained over recent unrest, has been accused of "acting against national security." Lawyer Abdol-Samad Khorramshahi told AFP on Saturday that he was seeking permission to see his client, saying, "I have not met with him yet, but I will ask the judiciary for an appointment." "I was told by a close relative that he is accused of acting against national security,” he added. Iran became the scene of violence in recent weeks amidst rallies staged in protest at the outcome of the June 12 presidential election -- which saw Mahmoud Ahmadinejad elected for a second term in office. After warning other countries against interfering in its internal affairs, the Tehran government arrested nine Iranian nationals working at the British Embassy and said that these people had played a role in encouraging the post-election violence. The British government said that seven of those arrested in Tehran have been released. However, Iranian state television has said that just one of them remains in detention. In a statement on Friday, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he was "urgently seeking clarification" from Iranian officials, dismissing allegations that the staffers were involved in any illegal act.

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