UN chief defies U.S., Israel; plans trip to Tehran
* Ban plans to attend non-aligned summit in Iran-envoys
* U.S., Israel want Ban to boycott Tehran summit
* U.N. chief has criticized Iran for anti-Israel remarks
By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS, Aug 22 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to attend a summit meeting of leaders of non-aligned developing nations in Tehran next week, defying calls from the United States and Israel to boycott the event, U.N. diplomats said on Wednesday.
A spokesman for Iran's U.N. mission said it appeared that Ban would be attending the summit next week, though he declined to speak on behalf of the secretary-general's office.
Several other U.N. diplomatic sources said that barring any unexpected scheduling changes, Ban would attend the meeting of some 120 non-aligned nations in Tehran.
"It's a very important bloc of nations," a diplomatic source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "Of course the SG (secretary-general) is going. He can't not go."
A Security Council diplomat said it was important for the secretary-general to go. He said Ban should not turn his back on the entire non-aligned movement because one member, Iran, happens to have a president who doubts the Holocaust and questions Israel's right to exist. Continued...