Amid sharp anti-Israel comments by Iranian leaders, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran from Aug. 29-31, according to reports.
Israel asked the UN head not to attend, and that request “still stands,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Marc Regev told Bloomberg News. The UN said in a statement that the secretary-general “takes seriously his responsibility and that of the United Nations to pursue diplomatic engagement with all of its member states.” Ban plans to inform Iran of “the clear concerns and expectations of the international community” regarding its nuclear program, according to the statement.
Continuing his penchant for anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rants, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Aug. 16 called the existence of Israel “an affront to humanity” and added that the “Zionist regime is a malignant cancer.” Earlier, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said of Israel that Iran seeks “to save this Islamic state from the oppressive Zionist fingernails.”
Ban’s decision to go to Iran “will be seen as an endorsement of the regime’s legitimacy and another whitewashing of hatred and anti-Semitism,” NGO Monitor President Gerald M. Steinberg wrote in an op-ed for JNS.org.