US: Ban, Morsy should not attend Tehran NAM summit

State Department spokeswoman Nuland says Iran undeserving of high-level delegations from Egypt, UN for Non-Aligned Movement meeting.

August 21, 2012 08:36
2 minute read.
Flags of the Non-Aligned Movement members

Flags of the Non-Aligned Movement members 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi)


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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.

"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 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."

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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 conference.

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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.

In 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

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