`Iran will try to manipulate NAM summit to advance its agenda`

Last week, the US had expressed its opposition to Ban travelling to Tehran to attend the summit by noting that this is not a good decision.

Updated: Aug 21, 2012, 10:30 AM IST

Washington: Facing increasing pressure from the west because of its nuclear programme, Iran would try to "manipulate" the upcoming summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to advance its own agenda, a senior US official said on Monday.

Being hosted by Iran, the 16th NAM Summit is being attended by global leaders including the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.

"Iran is going to try to manipulate this (NAM) summit and the attendees to advance its own agenda and to obscure the fact that it is failing to live up to multiple obligations that it has to the UN Security Council, the IAEA and other international bodies," the State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland told reporters at her daily news conference here.

Last week, the US had expressed its opposition to Ban travelling to Tehran to attend the summit by noting that this is not a good decision.

"We frankly, don`t think that Iran is deserving of these high-level presences that are going there," Nuland said in response to a question.

"That said, these individual countries will make their own decisions at what level they choose to be represented.

We would hope and expect that those who choose to go will take the opportunity of any meetings that they have with Iran`s leaders to press them to come back into compliance, to use the opportunity of the P-5 plus one talks, to come clean about their nuclear programme and take up all of the other concerns that the international community has about Iran`s behaviour," she said.

Nuland said that Iran is trying to "skirt sanctions" wherever it can.

"It has been working in the neighbourhood to try to evade US sanctions and other international sanctions. That`s not new.

Whenever we have detected successful efforts by Iran to abuse Iraqi territory to circumvent sanctions, we have been clear and forthright with the Iraqis in trying to work through the issues," she said.

"So for example, when we found issues of compliance on the Iraqi side with our sanctions regime, as we did in the case of the Elaf Bank, which is a private bank, we`ve raised them with Iraqi officials and tried to work through the issues so that we can close those loopholes," Nuland said.

The State Department official also condemned the alleged "offensive" Iranian comments against Israel.

"We strongly condemn the hateful remarks made over the past few days and weeks by senior Iranian officials against Israel," she said.

The remarks are offensive and reprehensible, and the entire international community should condemn such rhetoric, the US official said.

"These threats are not new, and they demonstrate that Iran continues to be a threat to the region and the world, and we must continue to pressure Iran until it resolves international concerns about its nuclear programme and other issues," Nuland said.