Ahmadinejad's US visit stirs funding trouble

October 12, 2007

A US politician has put forward a bill proposing that a prestigious university be denied state funds because it hosted a talk by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Republican Duncan Hunter said the university should be cut off from state funds for "permitting state terrorist access to campus". However, he said state funds for student financial assistance should be permitted.

Introducing the Iranian President, Columbia's president Lee C. Bollinger said Ahmadinejad showed all the signs of being "a petty and cruel dictator". He criticised Iran's human rights record, funding of terrorism, Ahmadinejad's calls for the destruction of Israel and his stance on nuclear weapons.

The invitation was criticised by politicians including Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, President Bush decided not to take seriously an invitation to give a talk from an Iranian university. A White House spokeswoman said he might have considered the invitation if Iran allowed freedom of speech, did not pursue nuclear weapons and did not advocate the destruction of Israel.

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