Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday slammed the "overt dictatorship" of the UN Security Council in a speech opening a Tehran summit that included UN chief Ban Ki-moon in the audience.
"The UN Security Council has an irrational, unjust and utterly undemocratic structure, and this is an overt dictatorship," Khamenei told the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement summit.
Iran is in a showdown with the Security Council over its disputed nuclear programme, which has resulted in four sets of Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions on it for pursuing uranium enrichment.
Khamenei charged that "the control room of the world (the Security Council) is under the control of the dictatorship of some Western countries" -- implying permanent council members the United States, France and Britain.
State television showed Ban looking nonplussed as Khamenei delivered his speech.
The NAM, which represents much of the developing world, has long championed a reform of the United Nations to take power away from the UN Security Council and bolster the say of the UN General Assembly, where its members are better represented.
Khamenei's criticism of the UN's top table followed a meeting he had with Ban on Wednesday in which the UN leader bluntly told Iran to take "concrete" steps to ease the showdown over the nuclear issue.