U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the dangers of incendiary rhetoric when two men met in New York on Sunday before this week’s annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly.
“The secretary-general drew attention to the potentially harmful consequences of inflammatory rhetoric, counter-rhetoric and threats from various countries in the Middle East,” Ban’s press office said in a statement.
Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a brigadier general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was quoted as saying on Sunday that Iran could launch a pre-emptive strike on Israel if it was sure the Jewish state was preparing to attack it.
Iran denies that it is seeking nuclear arms and says its atomic work is peaceful, aimed at generating electricity.
The U.N. statement said Ban told Ahmadinejad that Iran should “take the measures necessary to build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program.”
The two men also discussed Syria. Iran has been accused of using civilian aircraft to fly military personnel and large quantities of weapons across Iraqi airspace to Syria to aid President Bashar al-Assad in his attempt to crush an 18-month uprising against him, according to a Western intelligence report.
“The secretary-general stressed the grave regional implications of the worsening situation in Syria and underlined the devastating humanitarian impact,” the statement said.
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