Washington: The United States Government, and specifically the US State Department, has said it hopes that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will use his forthcoming visit to Iran to attend the XVI Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit to remind Tehran of its international obligations and to come clean on its nuclear program.
Briefing media here, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland 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, who was responding to a question on whether the UN chief’s visit to Tehran should be seen or viewed as a display of “diplomatic impotence”, further said: “ Well, we’ve talked about our view with regard to the NAM meeting a couple of times here, including earlier this week. I think, I even said yesterday that we had concerns that Iran is going to manipulate this opportunity and the attendees, to try to deflect attention from its own failings.”
“And, we have the exact same concerns that you (media) articulated, that this is a country that is in violation of all kinds of UN obligations, and has been a destabilising force,” she added.
The international community, including the United States, is by and large of the view that Iran has defied all UN Security Council demands over its nuclear program, called for the destruction of a couple of UN member states, besides being according to Washington, the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
Nuland said that the Obama administration was of the view that Ban Ki-moon “needs to use the opportunity (of his visit to Tehran) to reflect the view of the international community with regard to Iran’s behaviour.”
She said that Washington is hopeful that he would do that. “Now that he’s chosen to go, he has an opportunity to say directly to Iran’s leaders what the international community’s concerns are,” Nuland added.
The State Department spokesperson further said: “I think that 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 behaviour. So, he needs to take that opportunity if he’s chosen to go.”
She also said that the UN chief is clearly aware and in the knowledge of Washington’s view on his visit to Iran. “We’ve spoken to him about it and to his office about it. With regard to the last 24 hours, I can’t speak to that,” Nuland said.
On Friday’s proposed talks between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Nuland said: “Well, this is the latest effort by the IAEA to get into some of these places that they’ve been promised access to and to have the Iranians fulfil some of the oral commitments that they’ve made to the IAEA director general.”
“So, we’ll just have to see how that visit goes forward, but I think the expectations of the IAEA and of its member states haven’t changed with regard to what we’re looking for from Iran,” she added.
She said that United States continues to remain concerned about the possibility of Iran fixing things in its favour well before the IAEA inspection of nuclear sites and plants. “We’ll have to see what they (IAEA) report in terms of what they see and whether they have concerns that exactly that may have happened,” she said.
First Published: Thursday, August 23, 2012, 14:06