Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is due to leave Tehran for New York next Sunday to attend the annual meeting of the Untied Nations General Assembly. During the two-day visit, the Iranian president, who will be accompanied by a group of high-ranking officials, is scheduled to conduct a speech during the general assembly meeting, attend bilateral talks with several of his counterparts and meet Iranians residing in the US.
Ahmadinejad is also set to use a speech at a leading US university to challenge George W Bush at a time of high tensions with Washington over his country’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
The invitation by New York’s Columbia University to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is attracting growing criticism from the US hawks ahead of his arrival on Sunday.
After attending the UN meeting, which will be his third since he ascended to power more than two years ago, the president will leave New York for the Venezuelan capital city of Caracas.
This is while the US administration, in a blatant violation of diplomatic norms, refrained from issuing an entry visa for Iran’s ambassador to Geneva and chairman of the Group 15.
Alireza Moayyeri, who heads the Group 15 in Geneva, was due to present an annual report to a meeting of the foreign ministers of the group on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York next Friday.
International rules require the Untied States, as the host to the UN headquarters, to issue visa for other countries’ envoys to the United Nations and to refrain from disrupting the operations of the world body.
Due to similar incidents in the past, Iran has called on the UN member states to change the UN headquarters from New York to Geneva or a more convenient and impartial place.