Iran Nuclear News U.N. Council says no request from Iran for briefing

U.N. Council says no request from Iran for briefing

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Reuters: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants to address the U.N. Security Council to defend Tehran’s nuclear plans, but he has yet to officially ask the 15-member body for a meeting, said the council president on Tuesday. By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants to address the U.N. Security Council to defend Tehran’s nuclear plans, but he has yet to officially ask the 15-member body for a meeting, said the council president on Tuesday.

Iran is embroiled in a dispute over its nuclear program, which the West says conceals a plan to produce nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.

South African Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, the council president for March, said Iran’s U.N. envoy, Mohammad Javad Zarif, told him he was still waiting on instructions from Tehran.

“His understanding was that the Iranian government is determined to make this trip,” Kumalo told reporters.

“For us it will only become an issue when we receive a letter from him and he (Zarif) had not yet received instructions to write a letter that I would then present to the other members for consideration of what to do,” he said.

Iranian government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham said earlier on Tuesday that the Foreign Ministry was seeking a U.S. visa for Ahmadinejad so he could visit the U.N. New York headquarters, but that the trip had not been finalized.

The five permanent U.N. Security Council members — the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia — plus Germany are discussing new sanctions on Iran for missing a February 21 deadline to suspend uranium enrichment, the process that can make atomic fuel or material for warheads.

“The guidelines I have read said that if a member state has an issue before the Security Council and requests to appear before the Security Council, this must be considered,” said Kumalo, adding that he would surprised if the council didn’t allow a visit by Ahmadinejad.

The five permanent Security Council are due to brief the other members of the council on Wednesday and show them the draft resolution they are working on.

“Whether they agree or disagree, we need to see what they’re talking about,” Kumalo said.

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