Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will likely be granted a visa to attend the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference that opens in New York next week, U.S. officials said yesterday.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley confirmed that the applications for Ahmadinejad and his delegation had been submitted in Berne, Switzerland, and he indicated they were likely to be approved.
The United States and other Western powers accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons in violation of its commitment under the Non-Proliferation Treaty not to do so. Iran has said its nuclear program is solely to generate electricity.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was originally scheduled to lead the Iranian delegation at the May 3-28 conference at U.N. headquarters, which is intended to assess compliance with the landmark arms control pact.
The treaty is designed to halt the spread of, and encourage the elimination of, atomic weapons.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will lead the U.S. delegation. The current schedule for the opening of the conference has Clinton and Mottaki scheduled to be the fifth and seventh speakers on Monday afternoon.
U.N. officials said it was not clear if Ahmadinejad would take a more prominent place on the program or stick to the current speaking order to respond to Clinton.