Tags: Ahmadinejad | UN | visit | plans

Ahmadinejad Plans UN Visit Next Week

Wednesday, 28 Apr 2010 08:56 PM

UNITED NATIONS - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad applied Wednesday for a US visa to head his country's delegation to the nuclear non-proliferation review conference at the United Nations next week, both sides said.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be among the more than 30 foreign ministers who are to attend the Monday opening of the review conference, which is held every five years.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said Ahmadinejad's visa application was received earlier on Wednesday via Switzerland, which represents US interests in Iran in the absence of diplomatic ties.

With its obligations as the United Nations host, the United States will not "stand in the way" if the Iranian leader wants to travel to New York to lead his delegation to the conference, Crowley said.

Iranian official Mohammed Baksahraee told AFP from Iran's permanent mission to the United Nations in New York that Ahmadinejad "is expected to attend the (NPT) meeting," and would head Iran's delegation.

Crowley added he hoped that the Iran plays a "constructive role" in the conference despite its defiance of international demands to stop its sensitive nuclear work.

Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the United Nations, first broke the news that Ahmadinejad had applied for a visa.

Rice said Iran's suspect nuclear program would be in the backdrop of the conference, stressing that the NPT remained "the cornerstone of our national security."

She added that the United States and five other major powers -- Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany -- were pursuing negotiations on proposed new UN sanctions against Iran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, which offers a pathway to building nuclear weapons.

But analysts said that if Ahmadinejad attends the meeting he was likely to reaffirm that Iran, which signed the non-proliferation treaty, does not seek a nuclear weapons capability.

Instead he was likely to turn the spotlight on arch-enemy Israel, which is widely believed to have an arsenal of several hundred nuclear bombs.

Israel has never publicly acknowledged having nuclear weapons, maintaining a policy of deliberate ambiguity since it inaugurated its Dimona nuclear reactor in 1965.

Like nuclear-armed countries India, Pakistan and North Korea, the Jewish state is not party to the treaty in order to avoid international inspections.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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UNITED NATIONS - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad applied Wednesday for a US visa to head his country's delegation to the nuclear non-proliferation review conference at the United Nations next week, both sides said.
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