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US Says Iranian President's Visa Issued
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The US State Department said on Monday that it has issued visa to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to attend the UN General Assembly in New York.

"My understanding is that his visa has been issued," State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said at a news briefing.

"To the best of my knowledge, no one in his party has had their visa denied," Casey said referring to Ahmadinejad's possible activities in New York.

"I'm not exactly sure what his speaking schedule is at the UN," the spokesman added.

US President George W. Bush, who is in New York, said last week that he will not meet with Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Ahmadinejad said early this month that he was willing to hold a debate with Bush at the UN General Assembly.

The White House rejected Ahmadinejad's proposal.

Washington and Iran have severed diplomatic ties since Iran broke out Islamic revolution in 1979 and US embassy personnel were taken hostage in a crisis that lasted 444 days.

The relations between the two countries are getting worse in recent years because of disputes over Tehran's nuclear ambitions and support for Islamic militants such as Hizbollah.

However, the US State Department gave former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami an unrestricted visa to visit the United States early this month, including stops in New York, Chicago, and Washington for speeches and news conferences.

(Xinhua News Agency September 19, 2006)

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