US President Barack Obama has condemned claims that the US government was behind the 11 September 2001 attacks.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the comments in an address to the UN General Assembly in New York.

He suggested the US government could have 'orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy, and its grips on the Middle East, in order to save the Zionist regime'.

Mr Obama described the statement as ‘inexcusable, hateful and offensive’.

In an interview on the BBC's Persian service, Mr Obama was asked if military action against Iran was being considered.

‘I think what people should remember is that I don't take war lightly,’ he said.

'I was opposed to the war in Iraq. I am somebody who's interested in resolving issues diplomatically.’

Mr Ahmadinejad told reporters yesterday it was time to have a ‘fact-finding committee’ on the 2001 attacks.

‘The fact-finding mission can shed light on who the perpetrators were, who is al-Qaeda... where does it exist? Who was it backed by and supported?’