[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
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.