Iran, which has balked at UN demands for inspecting its nuclear sites, is “playing ball in Lebanon” and can help solve the problems in the Middle East, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the Ayatollah at last week’s Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) conference in Tehran.
Ban told Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, the highest authority in Iran, "As a supreme leader and also religious leader of not only Iran, but also this region, you can play [a] crucially important role," according to the Iranian government-controlled Fars News Agency.
"You have an important role to play; you have been playing in the situation in Lebanon, Iraq. I know you are very much concerned for situation in Bahrain,” Ban added.
He also asked Khamenei “to exercise maximum influence in resolving this crisis in Syria," although Iran has staunchly supported and supplied weapons to Syrian President Bashar Assad and has accused Israel and the United States of fermenting the civil war.
"I think in this region, only Iran can play this crucially important role," reiterated the UN chief.
The regime has other ideas on how to “solve” regional problems, according to University of Tehran International Relations Prof. Hessamoddin Vaezzadeh.
He wrote in the Tehran Times that the NAM should be given a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Iran last week took over from Egypt the role of rotating president of the NAM, a position that the professor said Iran should exploit to counter “a distinct anti-imperialistic and anti-hegemonistic spirit among the countries that have joined NAM since it was founded in 1961. “
He suggested that the Nam’s objective be changed “to pursue the objectives of the member states and …to adopt more binding decisions.”