Iranian 'Ground Zero' visit would be travesty-Rice

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NEW YORK, Sep 24 (Reuters) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said today that it would have been atravesty for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit the ''Ground Zero'' World Trade Center site in New York.

''I think it would have been a travesty,'' Rice told cable TV channel CNBC in an interview. ''This is somebody who is the president of a country that is probably the greatest sponsor -- state sponsor -- of terrorism, someone who is a Holocaust denier, someone who has talked about wiping other countries off the map. I think it would have been a travesty.'' Ahmadinejad, who is in New York to attend the UN General Assembly and who has called for Israel to be wiped off the map, was denied a request to visit the World Trade Center site of the September 11 attacks.

The United States cut off diplomatic relations with Iran in 1980, when 52 American citizens were being held hostage by Iranian students, and it accuses Iran of seeking to develop atomic weapons under the cover of a civil nuclear program.

Iran denies this, saying its nuclear program is to generate power so it can export more of its valuable oil and gas.

Reuters JK GC1947

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