United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to travel to Iran next week for a meeting of non-aligned nations, amid objections from the United States and Israel which say the visit sends a bad signal.
Ban's spokesman, Martin Nesirky, announced the trip Wednesday. He says the U.N. chief will convey the international community's concerns and expectations about Iran's nuclear program, terrorism, human rights and the crisis in Syria.
Nesirky says Ban is aware of the sensitive nature of his visit, but that boycotting would be a "missed opportunity."
The United States says it is concerned Iran will use its turn to host the 120-member group to "deflect attention from its own failings."
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland urged Ban to pressure Iran to meet its international obligations.
The Non-aligned Movement was formed in 1961 by countries that professed no formal alignment with the major power blocs at the time. The meeting next week is expected to include several heads of state, foreign ministers and other officials.
The United Nations, European Union and world powers including the United States have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Iran because of concerns it is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.