(AP) - President Barack Obama and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad traded heated remarks Friday on the emotional subject of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and hopes for a quick resumption of talks on
Obama accused Ahmadinejad of making "offensive" and "hateful" comments when he said most of the world thinks the
"It was offensive," Obama said in an interview with the Persian service of the
"And 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 said.
Obama said Ahmadinejad's remarks will make the American people even more wary about dealing with his government.
"For Ahmadinejad to come to somebody else's country and then to suggest somehow that the worst tragedy that's been experienced here, an attack that killed 3,000 people, was somehow the responsibility of the government of that country, is something that defies not just common sense but basic sense - basic senses of decency that aren't unique to any particular country - they're common to the entire world," he said
In a news conference at a
"I did not pass judgment, but don't you feel that the time has come to have a fact finding committee," he said of his General Assembly address that prompted the
The Iranian leader routinely makes incendiary remarks, including verbal threats to destroy
It has continued to defy international demands to come clean about its intentions despite offers of incentives to cooperate.
Earlier this week, the five permanent members of the Security Council - the
Ahmadinejad said Friday that he thought
But Obama seemed unimpressed with the Iranian position. He sharply criticized
"Right now what the Iranian government has said is, it's more important for us to defy the international community, engage in a covert nuclear weapons program, than it is to make sure that our people are prospering," he told the
Obama stressed, however, that the door to negotiations remains open. Ahmadinejad has so far refused to return to talks because of the latest round of sanctions that followed
Associated Press writer Mark S. Smith contributed to this report.