Iran: UN head to attend Non-Aligned summit in Tehran (TIMES OF ISRAEL) By JOSHUA DAVIDOVICH 08/05/12)
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Iranian news service says Ban Ki-moon to visit in late August for
conference, despite efforts to isolate Islamic Republic
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will reportedly make his
first trip to Iran later this month, despite increasing international
efforts to isolate Tehran over itís nuclear program.
Ban will visit the Islamic Republic as part of a meeting of the Non-
Aligned Movement, scheduled to take place from August 26 to 31,
Iranís Fars News Agency reported Saturday.
The report quoted Iranian Vice-President Ali Saeedlou as saying the
head of the world body would attend the summit.
The UN could not be immediately reached for comment or confirmation.
At a press briefing on Friday, a journalist asked Ban spokesman
Martin Nesirky when the secretary general would visit Iran, but did
not receive a direct answer.
The Non Aligned Movement, made up of 120 countries who were not under
the direct aegis of either the US or the USSR during the Cold War,
holds a governing summit once every three years.
Tehran sees the conference as a bulwark against the growing
international movement to isolate it over its nuclear program, which
Israel and much of the West believe is for military purposes.
Jerusalem is reportedly trying to convince capitals to boycott the
summit, or only send low-level officials, Israeli daily Maariv
reported last week.
On Friday, London-based daily Al-Hayat reported that Egyptian
President Mohammed Morsi would skip the meeting, and send his prime
minister or foreign minister instead. The move was reportedly made
over Tehranís links to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad,
who has become an international pariah as he has bloodily suppressed
an uprising in his country.
Among those attending the summit will be Palestinian President
Israel, which sees a nuclear Iran as a threat to its existence, has
pushed for harsh sanctions against the Islamic Republic, saying it
will resort to military action if those fail.
The United Nations has maintained that diplomacy should be pursued as
the best course of action, though several rounds of meetings between
world powers and Iran have produced no results. (© 2012 THE TIMES OF
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