TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday he hopes to attend this summer's Olympic Games in London but that the British authorities were reluctant to allow him, state media reported. "I would like to be beside the Iranian athletes at the Olympic Games in London to support them, but (the British) have issues with my presence," Ahmadinejad said, without offering further explanation. "The enemies do not want our athletes to win medals, but our young people shall be present at the Olympic Games and, like Arash, give new reasons to take pride in Islamic Iran," he said, quoted by the official news agency IRNA.

Arash is a mythical hero of ancient Persia.

According to legend, he was instructed to shoot an arrow that would determine the country's border. He exerted all his strength to shoot the arrow a great distance, but was destroyed in the process.

Relations between Tehran and London are at an all-time low.

London closed its embassy in Tehran after a rampage of the building by Islamist students in November 2011.