UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] on Wednesday expressed concern [press release] about Iran's human rights conditions and nuclear program during a visit to Tehran. In several comments since his arrival, Ban stressed the importance of international cooperation and improving the welfare the Iranian people. In a news conference shortly after his arrival in Iran, Ban highlighted the importance of improving the human rights situation [AP report] in Iran, noting that citizens currently experience numerous violations. Ban also expressed concern about Iran's nuclear program, and encouraged Iranian authorities to "prove to the world that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes." Ban has traveled to Tehran to attend the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) [official website] that is taking place in the city this week.
Iran's nuclear program continues to raise international concern. Earlier this month, US President Barack Obama announced two new economic sanctions [JURIST report] on Iran's oil exports that aim to cut the country's financial transactions with the Chinese and Iraqi banks allegedly doing business with Tehran. In the first of these orders Obama explained that the penalties were imposed to prevent funding for "Iran's illicit proliferation activities." In March, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) upheld a lower court decision [JURIST report] that a UK subsidiary of Bank Melli Iran (BMI) can be included in a list of entities engaged in nuclear proliferation. A 2007 UN Security Council Resolution [Resolution 1337 text] requires member states to freeze the assets, funds and economic resources of entities and their subsidiaries that are determined to be "engaged in, directly associated with or providing support for Iran's proliferation sensitive nuclear activities or the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems."