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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Begins Annual NYC 'Charm Offensive'

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at the United Nations earlier today. This morning, he convened a breakfast for journalists. Seth Wenig/AP Photo hide caption

toggle caption Seth Wenig/AP Photo

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke to journalists at a hotel in Manhattan this morning.

It was "part of what has become his ritual charm offensive when he attends the United Nations General Assembly," Neil MacFarquhar, a correspondent for The New York Times, writes.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran ran through his standard talking points at his annual gathering with American journalists on Tuesday — denying that dissidents languish in jail or that economic sanctions were biting, and rejecting the idea that Tehran deserves anything less than a gold star for its nuclear inspection record. But this time, he embroidered his remarks with a little fresh bluster.

Seated at a conference table surrounded by news editors and television producers, the Iranian president told his breakfast guests that, should the United States attack Iran over its nuclear program, it would get embroiled in a war that would make previous American conflicts pale in comparison.

According to Paul Richter, a reporter for the Tribune Washington bureau, Ahmadinejad said "he saw a 'good chance' that talks will resume soon with the United States over Iran's disrupted nuclear program because 'there is no other alternative.'"

Afterward, he said that "capitalism was on the verge of death and that it was time for a new economic system," Reuters reports.

"The discriminatory order of capitalism and the hegemonic approaches are facing defeat and are getting close to their end," Ahmadinejad said at a summit meeting assessing progress on achieving U.N. goals to drastically reduce poverty by 2015.

"The undemocratic and unjust governance structures of the decision-making bodies in international economic and political fields are the reasons behind most of the plights today humanity is confronting," he said, according to an English translation of his prepared remarks.

Ahmadinejad is scheduled to address the General Assembly on Thursday.

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