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US won't let ambassador attend UN Conference on Disarmament when Iran takes over presidency

The United States says it will refuse to send its ambassador to any meeting of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament chaired by Iran because countries under U.N. sanctions shouldn't be allowed to hold such positions.

Erin Pelton, spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, said in a statement Monday that a country "in flagrant violation" of U.N. Security Council and International Atomic Energy Agency obligations should be barred from any formal or ceremonial positions in U.N. bodies.

The Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament is the world's most important disarmament negotiating forum.

Pelton said it is "unfortunate and highly inappropriate" for Iran to hold the rotating presidency of the 65-nation body from May 27 until June 23 even if the post "is largely ceremonial and involves no substantive responsibilities."