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UN chief to discuss Syria with Iranian leaders

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – The U.N. chief says he will discuss the Syria crisis with Iranian leaders ahead of the nonaligned nations summit opening in Tehran this week.

Ban Ki-moon arrived in Tehran Wednesday to attend the summit. He called Iran a major player capable of mediating in regional conflicts, including the Syrian civil war.

Ban was scheduled to meet Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad later Wednesday.

The summit begins Thursday. Representatives from more than 100 countries are attending. Iran is using the summit to counter U.S. claims that it has been isolated over its nuclear program.

The West has imposed sanctions to try to persuade Iran to stop enriching uranium. The U.S. and its allies suspect Iran may be aiming to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies that.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)