TEHRAN, Iran - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is calling for a face-to-face debate with his American counterpart Barack Obama at the United Nations.

The offer by Ahmadinejad came at a news conference in Tehran today as he stepped up his campaign for his re-election in the June 12 presidential vote.

If returned to office, Ahmadinejad says he wants to meet Obama during the UN General Assembly in September to debate "world issues and the way toward peace."

Ahmadinejad is in a four-way race against a fellow hardliner and two pro-reform candidates.

The campaign has grown more bitter in recent days with reformists accusing authorities of trying to undercut their strength by blocking the social networking site Facebook.

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