March 16, 2007 -- Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has formally asked to attend a United Nations Security Council meeting during which the council will vote on new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.
South Africa's UN ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, president of the Security Council for March, said the council will have to decide whether to grant the request.
U.S. officials say the United States has received official visa requests for an Iranian delegation to come to the UN in New York.
A vote on the new sanctions, aimed at punishing Iran for refusing to halt uranium enrichment, is expected next week. A draft resolution has been agreed by the five veto-holding permanent members of the Security Council -- the United States, Russia, France, Britain, and China.
On March 15 in Iran, Ahmadinejad dismissed the Security Council as having no legitimacy, and said UN and Western pressure would not stop Iran from acquiring nuclear technology.
Acting U.S. Ambassador to the UN Alejandro Wolff noted Ahmadinejad's remarks in comments to journalists on March 15.
"I find it again ironic that a president, who is quoted today saying that he tears up Security Council resolutions and has no respect for what the council does, is interested in coming to speak to the council," he said.
(compiled from agency reports)
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