Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today underscored the need for Iran to continue negotiations with concerned countries over the status of its nuclear programme, telling the country’s President to also cooperate fully with the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
In a meeting with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, held in Istanbul, Turkey, on the sidelines of the UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Mr. Ban stressed the importance of Iran’s negotiations with the so-called E3+3 – China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
He also highlighted the importance of Iran cooperating fully with the IAEA, according to an information note released by the Secretary-General’s spokesperson.
Iran has repeatedly stated that its nuclear programme is for the peaceful purpose of providing energy, but many countries contend it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons and last year the Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions against it, citing the proliferation risks of its nuclear programme and Iran’s continued failure to cooperate with the IAEA.
The issue has been of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that Iran had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
During their meeting today Mr. Ban also asked Mr. Ahmadinejad to cooperate with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), including a potential visit by that office to Iran.
In addition, the Secretary-General and the President discussed recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa, especially Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, as well on the importance of a positive outcome for the LDC conference.
While in Istanbul Mr. Ban has held a series of bilateral meetings with key officials, and today he met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Benin’s President Boni Yayi, Turkish President Abdullah Gül, Georgia’s Prime Minister Nikoloz Gilauri, African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Jean Ping and Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou.