NEW YORK—Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, meeting with several dozen American peace activists here Wednesday night, said that Iran was not seeking a nuclear bomb and asserted that the Bush administration was not in a position to launch military strikes to stop Iran from carrying out its nuclear activities.
"I really believe the American government is not able to start another war for the next decades to come. This is good news for the entire world," he declared. He was referring to the financial crisis that may trigger a historically expensive public bailout to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. He very likely also had in mind the long U.S. military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan—a theme he has struck on other occasions.
Ahmadinejad's New York visit to speak before the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly and to conduct a media blitz has become an annual ritual. His appearance here usually draws angry protests, denunciations for his alleged support for terrorism and the destruction of Israel, and tough questioning.
But this meeting was decidedly different, with a friendly tone that seemed to please the Iranian leader.
"It is definitely a very unique meeting as a whole," he said. The gathering was sponsored by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, America's oldest interfaith peace group. The few news media representatives permitted to attend were not allowed to ask Ahmadinejad questions.
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