Iran’s president is 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 weapons. 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.
Dean Coatsworth, dean of the school of international and public affairs, said, “Opportunities to hear, challenge and learn from controversial speakers of different views are central to the education and training of students for citizenship in a shrinking and still dangerous world.”
Tensions between the two countries heightened as US troops in Iraq yesterday arrested an Iranian businessman in Sulaimaniyah, in the north.
Iran protested to the US about the arrest, saying the man was the head of “cross-border commercial transactions” from the office of the governor-general of Kermanshah province in western Iran, which borders northern Iraq.