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Ban Ki-moon to attend summit in Iran

Aug. 22, 2012 at 7:52 PM

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit this month in Tehran, his office said Wednesday.

The summit is scheduled to run from Aug. 26 to Aug. 31, and to include representatives from the 120 NAM member nations. A Ban spokesman said the secretary-general plans to use the trip to Tehran for serious discussions with Iranian officials.

"With respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the secretary-general will use the opportunity to convey the clear concerns and expectations of the international community on the issues for which cooperation and progress are urgent for both regional stability and the welfare of the Iranian people," the spokesman said. "These include Iran's nuclear program, terrorism, human rights and the crisis in Syria."

Ban believes he has an obligation to engage with all U.N. member states, his spokesman said, adding Ban was "dismayed" by recent statements from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that threatened Israel's existence.

The New York Times suggested the visit is a coup for Iran. The newspaper said Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in a telephone call this month, urged Ban to boycott the summit.

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