Hundreds of world leaders have descended on New York City for the opening session of the U.N. General Assembly. One leader in particular, the president of Iran, is the focus of the protests. And while he’s in the country, two American mothers hope to make a very personal appeal.
The President of Iran was all smiles at U.N. headquarters in New York. No sign he is bothered by the controversy, or the protests, surrounding his visit.
He and President Obama both address the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday.
The White House says the president's message will be that "the door is open" for engagement with Iran, as long as Iran can prove it's not pursuing nuclear weapons.
At a town hall meeting, Mr. Obama said a nuclear Iran would be "a real problem."
“We continue to be open to diplomatic solutions to resolve this. We don’t think a war between Israel and Iran or military options would be the ideal way to solve this problem. But we are keeping all our options on the table.”
Mahmoud Ahmadinjad insists his country is not building weapons, just power plants.
But Israel says, he's proven he can't be trusted.
"He supplies arms to every terroristic organization in the Middle East," Israeli President Shimon Peres said.
Iran's nuclear program is not the only sticking point at the U.N. this week. Teheran is also under fire for human rights abuses and the detention of two American hikers.
The mothers of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal hope to meet with Ahmadinejad about getting their sons released. Their friend Sarah Shourd was freed last week.
“Shane and Josh do not deserve to be in prison one day longer than I was,” Shourd said.
Ahmadinejad calls Shourd 's release a humanitarian gesture and says her companions will need to prove their innocence in court.
The Iranian president also suggested the hikers’ fate may be tied to that of eight Iranians he says the U.S. is holding illegally.