B’nai B’rith International executives wrote to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressing dismay at reports that he intends to participate in the upcoming summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), scheduled to take place in Tehran later this month, the group said Friday.
“The Iranian regime, which is under steadily increasing international isolation due to its deplorable domestic human rights situation, financing of terrorist groups and illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons, hopes to use this summit and the presidency of NAM to gain some international legitimacy without having to curtail any of the abuses that have led to its international pariah status,” read the letter penned by B’nai B’rith President Allan Jacobs and Executive Vice President Daniel Mariaschin.
The letter noted that since the NAM summit, taking place August 26-31, was not a UN-sponsored gathering, “there should be no reason why the UN must be represented at all, let alone by its highest official.”
“Your trip to Tehran will be used as a propaganda tool by Iran, and will be seen as condoning the regime’s belligerency,” concluded the letter.
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations chairman Richard Stone and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein took the call further, urging member countries to boycott the conference too.
“The government of Iran must receive a strong message from the international community,” read a statement by the group. “It is imperative that the efforts to isolate Iran, until it comes into full compliance with Security Council resolutions, be supported by all countries. The absence of key leaders will send an important message while participation would further embolden extremists within the regime.”
Earlier Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with the UN chief on the phone and told him that attending in the Tehran summit would be “a major mistake.”
“During your tenure as UN secretary-general, you have acted fairly. This is why I was so disappointed to hear about your intention to attend the non-aligned summit,” Netanyahu reportedly said.
“Even if it is not your intention, your visit will grant legitimacy to a regime that is the greatest threat to world peace and security…. Mr. Secretary-General, your place is not in Tehran,” Netanyahu added.