He was called a "petty and cruel dictator" by Columbia University's president, Lee Bollinger in a recent debate in the US. In that confrontation, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defended his views and raised questions about the September 11 attacks.

His policies on the domestic and international level have been the topic of several heated arguments, ranging from the contentious nuclear programme to statements about the Holocaust. While some may accuse him of political posturing, others feel that he is pushing the region towards war with his actions. We took the debate to our readers.

Iran with its grandstanding is pushing the region towards war.

All countries have the right to adopt new technologies. Iran is not pushing the region into war since it is not the only country that wants to acquire nuclear technology. India also wants to acquire it and the process is on going. All countries should have the ability to acquire technologies that will help them develop.
– Jahabar Sathik
Abu Dhabi

Iranians have a right to do what they feel is right for their country. They've been put under a lot of pressure by the US. It's hard being in the spotlight. Anyone who is put under the microscope always gets his or her words, actions and intentions misconstrued and turned around.
– Asha Satish

I believe Iran is just as weary of war as any other nation. Iran may look at the US invasion of Iraq and feel a certain threat by them, especially with the current tensions. The stress is equal on both sides.
– Anil Kumar

It seems to me like the US is the one pushing Iran towards war. There's a lot of tension between the two countries. Unfortunately, the British government has been partly responsible in the past with Tony Blair disregarding the public's interest. I think the US will push and push and finally back off.
– Nicolas Hopwood

US foreign policy is to blame for most of what ails the Middle East.

The US has made itself a key player in the region using its diplomatic, economic and military power to support its national interest. In its foreign policy towards the Middle East, it has various options and tools available. However, it doesn't appear to do as much as it could or should in terms of finding peaceful resolutions.
– Mohammad Ebrahim

Some people tend to blame others for their shortcomings. When a nation blames another, it diverts the attention of its own citizens. Every nation has it's own internal issues to deal with, be it social or economic. The US tends to support its own policy but since every nation has it's own agenda, the US should be treated no differently.
– Tyagi Narendra

The actions of the US seem to provoke other countries into taking a defensive stand and thereby securing their interests. I think sometimes the US will pursue its own agenda under the pretence of liberating or protecting other countries.
– Ivy Viray

This is obviously a complicated issue. Certain policies can cause tensions, but there are a lot of things that the public is unaware of. Instead of looking internally I think some countries have a habit of generalising or looking for scapegoats. Domestic and foreign policies are separate, but it's good to know about each of them pertaining to the country.
– Sam Bodo

The natural wealth of the region is responsible for all political strife.

Personally, I'm very frightened by the possibility of more conflicts. We've all seen and heard about what's happening in Iraq and I'm sure many share this fear. The US is seeking certain goals and the oil in the region might have something to do with it.
– J. Catelen

The natural resources are very much a part of the equation. The US has to deal with their oil situation sooner or later.
– Mike Bridge

There's a desire in the West to control the wealth in the Middle East. They cannot survive without oil, gold, and other minerals that add to their economies. The owners of the wealth must be united to bring a balance to the situation.
– Mervyn I.

It's not an easy question. I'm not sure how the wealth is distributed but I do think the US is searching for oil. I've heard about the attacks in Iraq and instability of the region, but I haven't heard of the oil being at risk of depletion. Is the US only after oil? I'm not really sure.
– Gassan Chammas
Al Ain

Dialogue is still possible.

In anything, when there's a dialogue, things can become clear when you get the other person's side. Communication can save us from war. There are some situations in life that need immediate action, but on the whole there should always be dialogue. War is such a barbaric thing and in the end it mostly affects the innocent.
– From Savio Fernandes

This conflict is between two governments, not two people. For everyone involved there needs to be a dialogue. And let's not forget about the media. The US might be misinformed or not getting the whole picture. This could be the case on both sides. The media might even be the cause of some of these tensions.
– Saeed Al Suwaidi

It's always possible to have negotiations. In the business sector we have a strong belief in negotiation and if we can follow these practices, then the politicians should be able to do it as well. There's still time, a way and a means for negotiations. Otherwise the consequences could be dire.
– Robert Azar

Both US and Iran seem poised to disagree, but I don't think the US will strike out just yet. This situation is different as compared to that of Afghanistan and Iraq. Nations have a right to defend themselves with nuclear power and I don't think the US will take negotiations seriously till Iran is a nuclear power.
– Ihab Salha