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UN chief to attend controversial summit in Iran

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a press conference April 17, 2012, in Luxembourg.
AFP/Getty Images

(AP) UNITED NATIONS - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend the summit of the Nonaligned Movement of mainly developing countries in Tehran next week despite strong opposition from Israel and Jewish groups outraged at Iran's calls for the destruction of Israel.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said Wednesday that Ban will participate in the Aug. 29-31 summit because he is determined to carry out his responsibilities to the 120-member organization and to raise directly with Iran's leaders the threat to Israel's existence, which violates the U.N. Charter.

Ban also plans to discuss Iran's nuclear program and the Syrian conflict with Iran's leaders, Nesirky said.

Nesirky said Ban is "fully aware of the sensitivities" of the visit, but not to go to Tehran "would be a missed opportunity."