Washington, Aug. 30 — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon challenged Iran’s leaders to show the world that its nuclear program is for peaceful, non-military purposes by taking "concrete steps to address the concerns of the International Atomic Energy Agency." The U.N. chief also spoke out forcefully against Iran’s threats to destroy Israel and its ongoing Holocaust denial
"For the sake of peace and security in this region and globally, I urge the government of Iran to take the necessary measures to build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program," Ban said.
The U.N. chief made the remarks Wednesday during the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, hosted by Iran. Some 120 nations are represented at the summit, including many foreign ministers and some heads of government, such as Egypt’s new President Mohamed Morsi. Ban had rejected pleas from the international community to reject Tehran’s invitation.
"I strongly reject threats by any member state to destroy another or outrageous attempts to deny historical facts, such as the Holocaust,” Ban said in address at the summit. "Claiming that another U.N. member state, Israel, does not have the right to exist, or describing it in racist terms, is not only utterly wrong but undermines the very principles we have all pledged to uphold."
Iran has repeatedly called for Israel’s annihilation and frequently condemns and makes threats against the West. In addition to its Holocaust denial, Iran provides training, arms and money to its proxies Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon and has vowed to share its nuclear technology with like-minded countries.
Iran has ignored demands by the international community to halt or make transparent its nuclear program. The United Nations, United States and the European Union have passed several sets of sanctions on Iran in an attempt to get the Islamic republic to curb its weapons program.
In the most recent such declaration, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's representative to the IAEA, said: "We will not suspend enrichment for even one second."