The United States is against high-level diplomatic visits to Iran by
Egyptian and UN officials, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland
said Monday. Nuland was responding to a press inquiry that specifically
mentioned a yet unconfirmed visit by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
and a confirmed visit by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy to attend the
Non-Aligned Movement meetings towards the end of August.
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
IAEA, and other international bodies," Nuland said. "So we, frankly,
don’t think that Iran is deserving of these high-level presences that
are going there."
The NAM summit has been at the center of diplomatic controversy in recent weeks, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu telling Ban to stay away from the event.
“Mr. Secretary-General, your place is not in Tehran,” he said in a
telephone conversation with the UN chief. Ban’s office has not
officially confirmed whether the secretary-general will attend the
Earlier this month, Egypt's Islamist President Morsy announced that he would attend the summit,
which would mark the first such visit by an Egyptian head of state
since 1979 Islamic revolution and Egypt's recognition of Israel. At the
16th summit meeting of NAM leaders, which will be held August 26-31,
Iran will take over from Egypt the chairmanship of the organization for
the next three years.
Israel has redoubled its efforts
to convince members of the international community not to attend the
conference, saying the attendance confers legitimacy on Tehran's regime.
Indeed, Iran is already trumpeting the meeting as a sign that the country is not isolated.
discussing the repercussions of the NAM conference, Nuland tied
attendance to Iran's illicit nuclear program, which the US has actively
tried to stymie through sanctions and diplomatic pressure. "Individual
countries will make their own decisions at what level they choose to be
represented," Nuland said. "We would hope and expect that those who
choose to go will take the opportunity of any meetings that they have
with Iran’s leaders to press them to come back into compliance, to use
the opportunity of the P-5+1 talks to come clean about their nuclear
program, and take up all of the other concerns that the international
community has about Iran’s behavior."
Nuland did not take any other questions on the subject.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report