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Ahmadinejad trip to New York would legitimize UN decision: analyst

TEHRAN, March 12 (Mehr News Agency) -- President Mahmud Ahmadinejad should distance himself from his previous stances if he wants to brief the UN Security Council on Iran's nuclear program, international affairs analyst Ali Khorram said here on Monday.

"Ahmadinejad questions the Security Council and calls it a tool in the hands of imperialist powers, but he would actually be recognizing and accepting its legitimacy by attending the Council meeting and giving a speech," Khorram told the Mehr News Agency.

Government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham said on Sunday, "The president of Iran plans to speak at a possible meeting of the Security Council on Iran's nuclear program to defend the right of the Iranian nation to use peaceful nuclear technology."

The five permanent members of the Security Council -- the United States, France, Britain, China, and Russia -- plus Germany are considering imposing new sanctions on Iran over its uranium enrichment activities.

The Security Council imposed a package of limited sanctions on Iran in December, barring the transfer of sensitive nuclear technology or expertise. It threatened further steps if Iran ignored the February 21 deadline to suspend enrichment.

An appearance by Ahmadinejad at a Security Council meeting would have no effect on its decision about Iran because the members usually discuss matters and resolve their differences before any meeting is held, Khorram said.

"However, his speech may have some political effect... When a president represents a country at a Security Council meeting, his speech can influence public opinion."

According to Reuters, the latest draft proposals, set out in a March 3 working paper, would expand a list of people, firms, and groups whose assets would be frozen or trade with whom would be restricted.

South Africa's UN ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, whose country holds the rotating Security Council presidency, said on Monday that Ahmadinejad had not made a formal request to address the UN's most powerful body, but if he did, "It would be very difficult to deny him that opportunity."

"A president representing a country at the Security Council is not at all conventional. Countries normally participate through their ambassadors," Khorram said. "However, there should be no fear of being unconventional."

Iranian Ambassador to Mexico Mohammad-Hassan Qadiri Abyaneh told MNA on Monday, "We should not suppose that Ahmadinejad is going to address only the Security Council members. Rather all the people of the world will be addressed.

Disseminating the message Ahmadinejad plans to deliver in his speech to the Security Council would cost Iranian media outlets millions of dollars.

Iran's ambassador to the United Nations could give the same speech, but certainly it would have a greater international influence if given by the president, he observed.

Strategic Studies Center Director Alireza Akbari praised the president's "personal" approach toward such a sensitive issue, but said, "Since we criticize the Security Council for using arbitrary approaches toward countries, we also should not deal with the body in a subjective manner."

"We should not reject it on certain occasions and demand our rights from it on another," he told MNA.

He called Ahmadinejad's decision "a gesture to show that Iranian officials are prepared to defend national rights, rather than a practical trip."

... Payvand News - 3/13/07 ... --

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