UNITED NATIONS - The United States on Monday said it was "highly inappropriate" for Iran to take over the rotating chair of the UN Conference on Disarmament this month and vowed that its ambassador would boycott any meeting led by the Tehran.
The world's sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum has been deadlocked for about 15 years. While the chairmanship of the Geneva-based body is largely ceremonial, it is a high-profile UN position.
"Iran's upcoming rotation as President of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) is unfortunate and highly inappropriate," Erin Pelton, spokeswoman for the US mission to the United Nations, said in a statement.
"The United States continues to believe that countries that are under Chapter VII (U.N.) sanctions for weapons proliferation or massive human-rights abuses should be barred from any formal or ceremonial positions in UN bodies," she said.
Iran is under UN, US, European Union and other international sanctions for refusing to halt a nuclear enrichment program that Tehran says is peaceful but Western nations and their allies suspect is aimed at giving it the capability to produce atomic weapons.