News & Views
Iranian President To Visit New York
By AFSHIN VALINEJAD
The Associated Press
June 3, 1998
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - President Mohammad Khatami, who has sought a more moderate course for Iran since his election a year ago, plans to visit the United States this fall to address the U.N. General Assembly, a government official said Wednesday.
Referring to the planned address in September as a ``very important speech,'' the official said Khatami would discuss the position of Muslims in the world and in the United Nations.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Khatami would urge the United Nations to give Islamic nations a permanent seat on the Security Council.
The official's comment was the first confirmation of the planned trip, though such a visit had been rumored for days. The trip would require U.S. government permission, which has never been refused to a head of state for a visit to the United Nations.
During a broadcast interview in January, Khatami called for a dialogue with Americans and more cultural and educational exchanges - breaking through nearly 20 years of hostility.
The United States severed ties with Iran after militants stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
Two previous Iranian presidents have addressed the United Nations since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Both used their speeches to attack the United States.
The president also will use his trip to meet the 2 million member Iranian community in the United States, the official said. Many Iranians fled their country to settle in the United States and other Western countries after the revolution.