U.S. to grant Iranian president visa for NPT conference

08:16, April 29, 2010      

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The United States said Wednesday that it would not block Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's application for a visa to attend the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, which begins next Monday at the UN Headquarters in New York.

"We have certain responsibilities as the host of the United Nations. Any foreign officials who's coming to the UN for official business is normally granted a visa," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters, when asked whether the Obama administration would grant a visa to the Iranian president.

"If they choose to have the president lead that delegation, that's their decision," said Crowley, adding that President Ahmadinejad applied for the visa early on Wednesday.

At the NPT review conference, the Obama administration is expected to try making all the participants reaffirm their commitment to the NTP treaty and to strengthen its three pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

According to Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller, the administration would also urge to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty into force and to complete the process on a verifiable Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, in efforts to reduce the nuclear threat facing the international community.

A total of 189 states have joined into the NPT treaty, which came into force in March 1970.

India, Pakistan and Israel have declined to sign the treaty, while the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, also known as North Korea, announced its withdrawal from the treaty in 2003.

As to Iran's nuclear program, the United States, Israel and other Western countries worry that Tehran may obtain the uranium fuel needed for nuclear weapons by the same process to purify uranium. But Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purpose.

The Obama administration has been trying to push the fourth round of sanctions on Iran under the framework of the United Nations in the coming days, in an attempt to make Iranian leaders realize the "importance of changing their actions and decisions concerning their nuclear program."



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