Washington: With UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon deciding to go to Tehran for NAM summit, ignoring American advice no to do so, US hopes that he would convey to the Iranian leadership the concerns of the international community with regard to its nuclear weapons program.
"Now that he has decided to go, he needs to use the opportunity to reflect the view of the international community with regard to Iran's behavior, and we hope he will do that," the State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, told reporters at her daily news conference.
The remarks came days after she had said that Ban going to Iran would send a wrong signal, thus advocating that the UN Secretary General should not travel to Tehran.
"We had concerns that Iran is going to manipulate this opportunity and the attendees, to try to deflect attention from its own failings.
"We have the exact same concerns that you articulated, that this is a country that is in violation of all kinds of UN obligations and has been a destabilising force," she said.
"We hope that those who have chosen to attend, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, will make very strong points to those Iranians that they meet about their international obligations, about the opportunity that we've provided through the P-5+1 talks for them to begin to come clean on their nuclear program and to solve this particular issue diplomatically, and about all the other expectations that we all have of them," Nuland said.
"We are all going to watch and see how this proceeds and whether he takes the opportunity to make clear the concerns that the international community has about Iran's behavior.
"So he needs to take that opportunity if he's chosen to go," she said in response to a question on the Tehran visit of Ban to attend the NAM summit being hosted by Iran, which among others is being attended by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"Our message to any leaders who are going to Tehran for the NAM meeting is that they should use this opportunity to express to the Iranians all of our concerns about the trajectory that they are on and about the opportunity that the international community has given them on their nuclear program and that they should use the time well and all the other issues. So that would go for any of the heads of state going," Nuland said.
US led West have accused Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons programe but Tehran has defended it strongly saying its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.
First Published: Thursday, August 23, 2012, 21:23