Iranian Spokesman: Tehran Working to Get US Visa for Ahmadinejad
13 March 2007
An Iranian official says his government is working to get a U.S. visa for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad so he can address the U.N. Security Council.
The official, government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham, told reporters in Tehran Tuesday that Iran's foreign ministry is working on the visa but the trip depends on when the Security Council will meet.
Mr. Ahmadinejad has said he wants to explain Iran's nuclear program to the Security Council.
The five permanent members of the council plus Germany are working on a new U.N. resolution that would impose more sanctions on Iran for its controversial program.
U.N. diplomats say the six world powers have made progress on a new resolution.
On Monday, State Department spokesman Tom Casey said he doubts Mr. Ahmadinejad's appearance before the council would serve a positive purpose.
The United States and its allies suspect Iran is working to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.
Also Tuesday, Israel's vice premier Shimon Peres said he hopes a peaceful solution to Iran's nuclear standoff can be found.
Speaking in Japan, he said he hopes the problem can be solved "economically, politically and psychologically."
Israel has said a nuclear Iran is a threat to the Jewish state.
Speaking in Washington on Monday, Israel's foreign minister Tzipi Livni called for stiffer sanctions against Tehran.
Late last year, the U.N. Security Council imposed limited sanctions and issued a 60-day deadline for Tehran to stop producing enriched uranium, which can be used to make nuclear weapons. Iran has ignored the resolution and says it will continue to enrich uranium.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.
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