Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he once again plans to attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September, his third trip to New York since taking office three years ago.

Monday's announcement on state television came as the Iranian leader told the nation's ambassadors to Persian Gulf states that "an end to the U.S. empire" was near, the official news agency IRNA reported.

During last year's visit to New York, Ahmadinejad participated in a question-answer session at Columbia University highlighted by the school's president, Lee Bollinger, delivering a stinging rebuke of the Iranian leader in his introductory comments.

Ahmadinejad had also asked if he could place a wreath at the World Trade Center site, but New York City officials rejected the request.

He also asked to meet with and debate President Bush, another request that was quickly dismissed.