Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi 370 (R).
(photo credit: Andreas Manolis / Reuters)
BERLIN – The slated arrival this week of Iran’s foreign minister, Ali Akbar
Salehi, to the fifth Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of
Civilizations in Vienna sparked sharp criticism from Israel’s embassy to
“We think Iran should be isolated and feel the pressure of
sanctions,” an embassy spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
two-day forum begins on Wednesday and aims, according to the UN’s website, to
“bring together decision-makers, experts and a variety of stakeholders in the
field of intercultural and interreligious dialogue from all over the
Though the EU sanctioned Salehi for his work on Iran’s enrichment
of uranium, the EU lifted its prohibition against Salehi to allow him to
The Israeli spokeswoman in Vienna said Israel “supports IAEA”
meetings with Iran in Vienna where Iran is “supposed to negotiate disarmament,”
but the UN event is turning Salehi’s trip into a visit with Austrian Foreign
Minister Michael Spindelegger, among many, and does not place pressure on
The International Atomic Energy Agency, a UN agency, is located in
Spindelegger told the Post in an email, “I just arrived back from
a visit to the Gulf region. There are large concerns in the region about a
nuclear armed Iran. Should Iran finally choose this path, I fear a nuclear arms
race in the region, which would make the region more insecure.”
Schallenberg, a spokesman for Spindelegger, told the Post on Monday that the
minister, along with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, would open the Alliance
of Civilizations forum.
“Iran is like most of the other UN countries a
member of this alliance and will, therefore, be participate as it did in the
past,” Schallenberg said.
He added that Spindelegger would meet with all
participating foreign ministers and a “meeting is also planned with Foreign
Spindelegger would use the meeting to make clear
Austria and the EU’s position toward Iran’s nuclear program and call on “Iran to
let go of its unacceptable delaying tactics,” the spokesman said.
it as a good sign” that negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members
of the UN Security Council plus Germany would resume on Tuesday, Schallenberg
“We want, however, to finally see that Iran is serious about the
negotiations and does not continue to play for more time,” he said.