Latest update: 24/09/2010
Obama condemns Ahmadinejad 'hateful' 9/11 remarks
US President Barack Obama has slammed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's (pictured) claims that the US government had a hand in the 9/11 attacks, labelling the comments "hateful" and "inexcusable".
By News Wires (text)
REUTERS - U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday strongly condemned comments by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that implied a U.S. government role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Obama, in an interview with BBC Persian news service, said the Ahmadinejad comments were "offensive," "hateful," and "inexcusable," an administration official said, citing a transcript of the broadcast.
Ahmadinejad, in an address at the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, said it was mostly U.S. government officials and statesmen who believed al Qaeda Islamist militants carried out the suicide hijacking attacks that brought down New York's World Trade Center and hit the Pentagon.
He said that another theory was that "some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack."
The U.S. official quoted Obama as saying: "It was offensive. It was hateful.
"Particularly for him to make the statement here in Manhattan, just a little north of Ground Zero, where families lost their loved ones, people of all faiths, all ethnicities who see this as the seminal tragedy of this generation, for him to make a statement like that was inexcusable."
Obama reiterated the U.S. position that the door to diplomacy with Iran remained open but that Tehran must fulfill international obligations over its nuclear program.
The official said Obama decided to sit down for the interview as a way of speaking directly to the Iranian people. BBC Persian is broadcast in Farsi, the dominant language in Iran.