[QODLink]
Americas
UN chief to visit Iran defying US and Israel
Ban Ki-moon plans to attend summit in Tehran amid growing tension over Islamic republic's nuclear programme.
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2012 19:27

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, will attend a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran next week, defying calls from the United States and Israel to boycott the event, the UN has confirmed.

"With respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the secretary-general will use the opportunity to convey the clear concerns and expectations of the international community," UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said on Wednesday.

"These include Iran's nuclear programme, 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 will be in Tehran from August 29 to 31.

'Horrible mistake'

"The secretary-general looks forward to the summit as an opportunity to work with the participating heads of state and government, including the host country, towards solutions on issues that are central to the global agenda including follow-up to the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, disarmament, conflict prevention and support for countries in transition," Nesirky said.

In-depth coverage of a growing regional debate 

The Non-Aligned Movement began in 1961 in Belgrade at the height of the Cold War by countries that considered themselves outside of the major power blocs led at the time by the Soviet Union and US.

Since then, the movement has grown and Iran was elected as NAM's current chair, replacing Egypt.

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has reportedly called Ban himself to warn him that attending the summit would be a "horrible mistake".

Victoria Nuland, the US state department spokesperson, last week said that Ban's participation in the Tehran summit would "not send a good signal".

After the announcement that Ban would go, she called on the secretary-general to "say directly to Iran's leaders what the international community's concerns are" and to attempt to get Iran to "come clean on their nuclear programme and to solve this particular issue diplomatically".

328

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.