Iranian president visits Indonesia to discuss nuclear issue

Iran's president got a colorful welcome at Indonesia's presidential palace Wednesday before heading into talks expected to involve calls for Tehran to be more open about its nuclear program to help ease international concerns.

Officials had no immediate comment on what the two leaders discussed in their meeting, which was scheduled to last about 90 minutes at Jakarta's Merdeka Palace.

But Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was expected to urge greater transparency to head off the intensifying international dispute over Iran's uranium enrichment.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the fiery Iranian leader, arrived in Indonesia early Wednesday at Jakarta's Halim airport. He made no statement, but waved to reporters as he departed.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said Tuesday that Ahmadinejad would discuss the nuclear issue with when the two leaders met Wednesday.

Ahmadinejad, battling a U.S.-led effort to bring United Nations sanctions down on Iran if it refuses to compromise on the nuclear standoff, arrived for a three-day state visit followed by a development conference on the resort island of Bali.

The United States accuses Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies, saying it aims only to generate energy.

The U.S. government is backing a draft U.N. resolution that could lead to sanctions and possible military action if Iran does not suspend uranium enrichment.

Yudhoyono was expected to ask Ahmadinejad to ease the escalating diplomatic fight with Washington.

"We want Iran to be more transparent in its program," Wirajuda told reporters. "We also want Iran's nuclear development program ... to fulfill the standards of the International Atomic Energy Agency."

Wirajuda added, however, that developing nuclear energy was "a basic right for every country."

Ahmadinejad was likely to receive a friendly reception in Indonesia, which is the world's most populous Muslim nation but also enjoys good relations with the West.

He was to meet with Yudhoyono, pay respects at the Heroes' Cemetery and visit two universities to talk to Muslim students, who often see him as a defiant leader standing up to the West, reports the AP.

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