(JTA) — UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will attend a meeting of the Non Aligned Movement countries next week in Tehran.
The decision, announced Wednesday, comes despite calls from Israel, the United States and others for the UN head to skip the meeting as the world community works to convince to make its nuclear program more transparent.
The new Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi earlier in the week agreed to attend, despite the country’s strained relations with Iran.
There are some 120 countries in the Non Aligned Meeting. The summit will take place in Tehran Aug. 26-31.
Ban is scheduled to address the summit and to meet with senior Iranian leaders, including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said earlier this month that "Zionism is a danger for entire humanity" and that Israel "is a cancerous tumor … in [the] heart of [the] Muslim world."
The Anti-Defamation League in a statement issued Wednesday said that Ban’s decision was an “undeserved gift” to Iran that could be seen as rewarding the regime’s belligerence on the nuclear issue and escalating anti-Israel, anti-American, and anti-Semitic rhetoric and incitement.
"The Secretary General’s decision to travel to Iran sends the wrong signal at the wrong time. It will be viewed by many in the international community as undermining the effort to prevent the terrorist regime from developing nuclear weapons,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director.