The American Jewish Committee (A.J.C.) is asking U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to reconsider his planned visit to Iran later this month for the Non-Aligned Movement Summit. The occasion marks the beginning of Iran’s chairmanship of the organization.
A.J.C. Executive Director David Harris tells VOA’s Susan Yackee Iran’s record within the international community is why Annan should not attend.
‘Iran is going through a major diplomatic full-court press’
“We’re appalled that this body will be represented by Iran for the next three years. Iran is going through a major diplomatic full-court press to get as many world leaders as possible to come to the summit in Tehran that launches their chairmanship, and clearly they want the Secretary General of the U.N. as well. Given Iran’s behavior, A.J.C. believes that world leaders should not go, and that the secretary-general, for whom we have great respect, should think twice.”
“Iran is in serial violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding its nuclear program. It is in violation of the International Atomic Agency guidelines, and the IAEA is a U.N.-affiliated agency that monitors atomic or nuclear activities. With all of the concern at the U.N. about what’s going on in Syria, Iran has repeatedly reaffirmed its support for President Assad, and Iranian forces have been identified in Syria repeatedly, helping to engage in the barbarism there. We’re asking ‘Why should world leaders travel to Tehran and confer legitimacy on the regime that desperately seeks that legitimacy at a time when it should be denied that legitimacy.’”
‘Iran is defiantly repudiating all the goals of the negotiation’
“When negotiations become a vehicle for buying time, and in the very same moment Iran is defiantly repudiating all of the goals of the negotiation by its stance on its nuclear program, its support for international terrorism, its solidarity with President Assad, its egregious trampling of human rights. There comes a point when world leaders have to say, ‘Is it going to be business as usual, or am I going to demonstrate moral backbone?’”
Listen to more of David Harris’s thoughts on Iran (4:15):
Susan Yackee is anchor and producer of VOA's audio podcast, Middle East Monitor. She has been a reporter in the Washington area for more than 35 years and regularly interviews newsmakers and analysts in DC and around the world. Susan works in television, radio and social media.