UNITED NATIONS – Iran’s controversial president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, intends to return to New York City next week, confirm sources at the U.S. State Department.
State Department officials say they received a visa request from the firebrand Iranian leader submitted at the U.S. consulate in Bern, Switzerland, earlier today.
A monthlong United Nations conference is scheduled to review the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the efforts to stem the spread of atomic weapons.
The treaty summit begins next week with Ahmadinejad arriving by Tuesday and staying at least two days.
Iran repeatedly has been cited by the U.S. and more recently the International Atomic Energy Agency as the leading nation suspected of operating a covert atomic-weapons program.
That original accusation led to a standoff with the U.N. Security Council which has lasted more than three years.
Currently, the Obama administration is seeking a new third set of council sanctions to punish Tehran for refusing to heed warnings about its controversial nuclear “research” program.
As if to emphasize its defiance, Iran recently announced its controversial new nuclear-power complex, located near the Persian Gulf port of Bushehr, will come online by midsummer.
Built by Moscow and more than three years late, the multibillion-dollar project is to provide Iran with one of the world’s largest nuclear-power installations.
Former U.S.-U.N. ambassador John Bolton, who also was a top State Department arms-control official in the administration of the senior George Bush, was critical of the visit.
“Ahmadinejad’s visit [will] be an opportunity to focus on violations of the [treaty]. This could be a wake-up call about how fragile the [treaty] really is and how ineffective it is to rely on treaty promises to restrain determined proliferators,” he said.
Obama White House national-security officials refused comment on the Ahmadinejad visit, referring any inquiries to the U.S./U.N. mission.
The U.S./U.N. mission did not respond.