UN Secy-Gen Ban Ki-moon Arrives in Tehran
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Tehran Wednesday to attend the “heads of state summit” at the Non-Aligned Movement Conference in Tehran.
The United States and Israel had both called on Ban not to attend. “We have no doubt that the Iranian regime will use the conference to cover up its crimes,” Israeli officials told Bloomberg.
A spokesman for Ban said the U.N. leader will raise concerns over Iran’s unchecked nuclear program and its interference in Syria with the country’s leaders.
Ban is expected to appear before the Iranian parliament, according to the Fars news agency, after Iranian lawmakers criticized him for “his biased attitude towards human rights issues in Muslim states and said they want to question him about his performance.”
Iranian National Security and Foreign Policy Commission member Esmayeel Kosari told Fars, “We believe that Mr. Ban Ki-moon does not have a fair attitude towards international developments and his decisions are essentially biased. Therefore, we are willing to hear Mr. Secretary-General's explanations in this regard.”
Ban is to meet Wednesday with Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, former head of Iran's nuclear agency, as well.
The 16th NAM summit, taking place from August 26-31, is comprised of 120 states that do not consider themselves formally aligned with, or against, any major bloc. The movement, formed in 1961 as an attempt to thwart the Cold War, also includes 17 observer nations.
According to Iran's Mehr News Agency, more than 150 countries are expected to be represented, with attendance at the highest level to include two kings and emirs, 27 presidents, 7 prime ministers, 9 vice presidents, 2 parliament spokespersons and 5 special envoys.
Iran is set to succeed Egypt as chair of the Movement at the summit for the three-year period starting in 2012, through 2015.
In a statement earlier this month, Ban's spokesperson said in an announcement 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...”
Iran has been sanctioned numerous times by the U.N. Security Council for its defiance of a mandate to halt its nuclear development activities. In response to the U.N. Mandate, Tehran has actually accelerated its uranium enrichment program.
The Islamic Republic recently announced that it had achieved 20-plus percent enrichment of uranium, which can be used to power an atomic weapon. Nevertheless, Iran continues to insist that its nuclear development activities are being carried out solely for peaceful domestic use.