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Iran leader makes new 9/11 claims

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that as an engineer he is sure the World Trade Centre towers were not brought down by jet planes on 9/11.

In an interview, he said it would have been impossible for two jetliners to bring down the towers simply by hitting them, adding that some kind of planned explosion must have taken place.

Mr Ahmadinejad stopped short of saying the United States staged the disaster 10 years ago. But he said there are questions the world should resolve, and noted that there are doubters in the United States as well.

"This was a systematic collapse of those towers," he said. "I can say with certainty there must have been explosive material that was set off in sequence."

"A few airplanes without previous coordination known to the security forces and the intelligence community in the United States cannot become missiles and target the heart of the United States," Mr Ahmadinejad went on.

The Iranian leader was denied his request last year to visit the site of the World Trade Centre collapse. He said he is not making another attempt this year despite being in New York for the UN General Assembly.

Earlier, Mr Ahmadinejad saw diplomats from more than 30 countries walk out at the General Assembly as he attacked the US and Europe for being greedy, arrogant and too ready to use military force. He has made similar waves in past gatherings in New York, but at home his powers have been weakened by Iran's ruling clerics.

Despite that controversy, he suggested in the interview relations between Iran and the US could be improved.

He complained that president Barack Obama had never made good on a pledge to try to open a dialogue with Iran, and said he still hopes for a face-to-face meeting. "I don't believe that this is a chance that has been completely lost," Mr Ahmadinejad said.

He also said Iran remains ready to negotiate over its disputed nuclear programme and repeated the country's position that the it is for the peaceful production of energy. The US and other Western powers believe Iran is aiming to build nuclear weapons, and it is under four sets of Security Council Sanctions for refusing to freeze uranium enrichment.

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