US, Israel object but UN chief to visit Iran for NAM summit
United Nations: Despite strong objections from Israel and the US, UN Chief Ban Ki-moon is slated to visit Iran to attend the Nonaligned Movement summit next week.
The summit that will comprise of mainly developing countries is scheduled to take place on August 30-August 31, and Ban Ki-moon will be in Tehran from Aug 29-Aug 31.
UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said that Ban will participate in the summit because he is determined to carry out his responsibilities to the 120-member organization.
He also said that Ban will directly talk to Iran over its nuclear programme and "convey the clear concerns and expectations of the international community".
According to Nesirky, Ban will also discuss with Iran the issues of terrorism, human rights and the crisis in Syria.
He said Ban is “fully aware of the sensitivities” of the visit, but not going “would be a missed opportunity.”
Ban’s visit to Tehran comes even as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jewish groups had warned him to travel to Iran.
Earlier this month, Netanyahu said he called Ban and warned him that traveling to Iran “would be a horrible mistake.”
Last week, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that Ban’s participation in the Tehran summit would “not send a good signal.”
The US remains concerned that Iran “is going to manipulate this opportunity and the attendees to try to deflect attention from its own failings,” Nuland said.
The UN Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions in an attempt to push Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, a key process for producing nuclear weapons.
With Agency Inputs