Iranian president to address UN Security Council
The United States said Friday it would expedite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's request for a visa to address the UN Security Council when it votes on a new sanctions resolution against his country next week.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called on the Iranian leader to use the appearance to announce the suspension of his country's uranium enrichment program as demanded under previous UN resolutions.
According to AFP, McCormack stated Tehran had applied via the US embassy in Switzerland for visas for Ahmadinejad and his delegation to attend the UN Security Council session that will vote on a resolution toughening UN sanctions against Tehran. That meeting is to be held next week.
"We are going to do everything that we can in accordance with our (UN) host country responsibilities to expedite the issuing of any such visas," he said. "But I would just note for you that we have in the past issued visas for him as well as his travelling party when they've gone to the UN," he said.
Ahmadinejad confirmed earlier Friday that he had formally asked to attend the council meeting under UN regulations allowing any country that is subject to a UN resolution a right of rebuttal. "Should the American government issue a visa, I will definitely participate in the Security Council meeting and defend Iran's nuclear rights," Ahmadinejad said.
In a speech Friday, Ahmadinejad refused to stop its disputed nuclear work. "The Iranian nation possesses the nuclear fuel cycle and will not go back on that," he told a rally in central Yazd province, cited by the semi-official Fars news agency.
"The Iranian nation is moving speedily on the path to progress, and the enemies' pressures and threats do not affect the nation's will," he said.