(JNS.org) Amid sharp anti-Israel comments by Iranian leaders, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will attend the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran from Aug. 29-31, according to reports.
U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland had publicly called upon Ban to boycott the conference, saying “Iran is going to try to manipulate this NAM summit and the attendees to advance its own agenda, and to obscure the fact that it is failing to live up to multiple obligations that it has to the UN Security Council, the International Atomic Energy Agency and other international bodies.”
Additionally, Israel had asked Ban not to attend. The UN said the secretary-general “takes seriously his responsibility and that of the United Nations to pursue diplomatic engagement with all of its member states,” according to Bloomberg News. Ban plans to inform Iran of “the clear concerns and expectations of the international community” regarding its nuclear program, the UN added.
Continuing his penchant for anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rants, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Aug. 16 called the existence of Israel “an affront to humanity” and added that the “Zionist regime is a malignant cancer.” Earlier, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said of Israel that Iran seeks “to save this Islamic state from the oppressive Zionist fingernails.”
Ban’s decision to go to Iran “will be seen as an endorsement of the regime’s legitimacy and another whitewashing of hatred and anti-Semitism,” NGO Monitor President Gerald M. Steinberg wrote in an op-ed for JNS.org.