NCRI, November 5 – U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has canceled his forthcoming trip to Tehran in response to the Iranian president’s call to "wipe Israel off the map," the United Nations said on Friday.
Annan had planned to visit the Iranian capital in mid-November during a swing through the Middle East beginning next week, presumably to talk about Iran’s nuclear policy.
But since the trip was arranged, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad drew international condemnation for his remarks on October 26.
"The secretary-general and the Iranian government have mutually agreed that this is not an appropriate time for him to travel to Iran," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
"In light of the ongoing controversy, it would have been difficult to advance the agenda that he had wanted to discuss with the Iranian leadership," Dujarric said.
In Tehran, a Foreign Ministry source contended it was Iran, not Annan, who wanted the trip rescheduled "to a more appropriate time in the future," the official news agency Irna reported. It said comments made by Annan on Thursday were "under the influence of American officials and were not interpreted well in Tehran."
Annan, who had previously rebuked the Iranian president, told reporters on Thursday that "no one in the international community defended what the Iranian president said and the Security Council itself issued a statement."
He was answering questions on why he had not called off the trip and also hinted at a change saying, "My itinerary is still being refined and I will announce it later."
At the same time, Annan, in keeping with the organization’s policy of communicating with all member states, said, "Obviously, we need to engage people and governments."
Among those advocating he cancel the trip was California Rep. Tom Lantos (news, bio, voting record), the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee.
On Monday, Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, also urged the Secretary General to cancel his trip to Iran and instead take the initiative for the adoption of a decisive policy, including the imposition of sanctions, against the clerical regime.
"Shaking the blood stained hands of those criminals who have shed the blood of freedom lovers in Iran and brazenly violated the United Nations Charter by calling for the destruction of Israel and the United States as well as threatening Arab and Muslim nations with terrorism, undercuts the credibility of Mr. Annan and the United Nations as the highest competent international authority," Mohaddessin said.
The NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman added, "The henchmen ruling Iran will exploit this trip to legitimize their sinister and suppressive regime, just as they took maximum advantage of dialogue and diplomatic engagement with the European countries to crack down on the Iranian people, complete and advance their clandestine nuclear program and export terrorism and fundamentalism to the region and Iraq."