To the Editor:
The notion of Iran's leading the 118-nation Nonaligned Movement for the next three years, beginning with a kickoff summit meeting in Tehran later this month, is deeply worrisome ("Iran Preparing to Lead Global Nonaligned Group," news article, Aug. 14).
For Iran, the opportunity could not be better timed. By encouraging Nonaligned Movement countries to actively support its leadership, Tehran thumbs its nose at the United States and other countries seeking to ostracize it for its nuclear program, not to mention its active support for President Bashar al-Assad's brutal repression in Syria and its state sponsorship of terrorism.
The Nonaligned Movement membership is not monolithic. While Iran can count on the allegiance of such countries as Cuba, Syria and Venezuela, other nations should think twice before playing into Iranian hands and conferring respectability on a regime that does not remotely merit it.
The same goes for the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, who reportedly is planning to travel to Tehran for the summit meeting. Why should he visit a country that brazenly flouts Security Council resolutions, serially ignores the International Atomic Energy Agency's norms and, as recently as Aug. 2, called for the "annihilation" of a United Nations member state, Israel?
American Jewish Committee
New York, Aug. 14, 2012