Israel warns NAM delegates of Iran propaganda 'trap'

AFP , Thursday 23 Aug 2012

Israel says Iranian Non-Aligned Movement summit ploy to create an "impression of legitimacy" as it warns leaders not to attend

Israel on Thursday warned UN chief Ban Ki-moon and other world leaders not to fall into an Iranian propaganda "trap" when they attend a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran next week.

"This conference will doubtless be exploited by the Iranian regime for propaganda purposes and will try to create the impression of legitimacy for its policies," foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP.

"We expect all those who decide to go there to be aware of such manipulation and to take care not to fall into the trap," he said.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky confirmed on Wednesday that Ban would attend the Tehran summit on August 30-31, in the face of opposition by Israel and the United States.

Diplomats said he would also have a private meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran is at the centre of a showdown with the international community over its nuclear drive; has been accused of providing arms to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and has also been condemned for inflammatory remarks by its leaders calling Israel a "cancerous tumour."

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Ban earlier this month he would be making "a big mistake" if he attended the summit.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, also advised Ban against going, diplomats said.

The Non-Aligned Movement has 119 state members, as well as the Palestinian Authority.

Among top-level delegates who will be attending the summit are Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi, Cuban leader Raul Castro and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Over the past week, Tehran has sparked outrage in Israel after Ahmadinejad and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei both described the Jewish state as a "cancerous tumour."

Ban has slammed the Iranian statements and repeatedly stated that Iran, which is under UN sanctions over its nuclear programme, must prove that its drive is peaceful.

Israel, the United States and its European allies say Iran is seeking a nuclear bomb. Tehran denies the charge.

Israel is widely suspected to have the region's sole, if undeclared, nuclear arsenal.

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