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Iran takes on U.N. at global meeting

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:46 AM EDT, Wed August 29, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Non-Aligned Movement includes 120 countries
  • Iran denies Hamas was invited
  • Egyptian president plans to visit an Iranian nuclear site, Iranian state media say
  • U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to arrive Wednesday despite calls for boycott

Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- Iran kicked off a meeting of more than 100 countries on Sunday by slamming the "adverse consequences of the current world order" and demanding change from the United Nations, state-run Press TV reported.

"Six decades since its establishment, the United Nations needs fundamental reforms in order to adapt to the modern global developments," said Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, according to the report. He added that "a more democratic Security Council" is needed.

The remarks came as the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement got under way in Tehran. The movement includes 120 nations that claim not to be aligned with any world power.

Iran is using the summit to push its "insistence" on endorsing a convention on nuclear disarmament, a goal the group has previously committed to.

Iran hosts Non-Aligned Movement summit

The United States and several other Western nations are concerned Iran's nuclear program is a guise for the secret development of nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.

New Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy plans to visit the Bushehr nuclear facilities while in the country for the summit, Press TV reported.

"The visit is line with countering propaganda against the Islamic Republic and their baseless claims about Iran's attempts to obtain nuclear program," Iranian lawmaker Mansour Haqiqatpour said Sunday, according to Press TV.

Iran denied reports Sunday that Hamas, Gaza's ruling party, had been invited to the summit. "President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not sent any official invitation for attending the NAM Summit to the prime minister of the people's government of Hamas," the semi-official Iranian Students' News Agency quoted a summit spokesman as saying.

Only Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was invited, the spokesman said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will arrive at the meeting Wednesday, ISNA reported.

"The Secretary-General looks forward to the summit as an opportunity to work with the participating heads of state and government, including the host country, towards solutions on issues that are central to the global agenda including follow-up to the Rio+20 Conference on sustainable development, disarmament, conflict prevention, and support for countries in transition," his spokesman said in a statement last week.

Despite calls by some in the United States and Israel for Ban to boycott the summit, his spokesman said the U.N. chief takes "seriously" the responsibility to pursue diplomacy with all member states.

"With respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Secretary-General will use the opportunity to convey the clear concerns and expectations of the international community on the issues for which cooperation and progress are urgent for both regional stability and the welfare of the Iranian people," his spokesman said. "These include Iran's nuclear program, terrorism, human rights and the crisis in Syria."

At the kickoff of the summit Sunday, "a senior Iranian foreign policy lawmaker" emphasized Tehran's "continued support and companionship with the Syrian nation and government until a full settlement of the crisis in the Muslim country" through talks and diplomacy, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

Ban's spokesman, meanwhile, said the secretary-general was "'dismayed' by recent remarks threatening Israel's existence -- attributed to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- and condemned the comments, which he described as 'offensive and inflammatory.'"

The summit ends Friday.

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