Iran leader to visit Nigeria as it takes UN post

LAGOS, Nigeria — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will visit Nigeria this weekend as the West African nation assumes the rotating presidency of the United Nations' security council, an Iranian diplomat said Thursday.

Ahmadinejad's visit to Nigeria comes after the leader made similar visits to Uganda and Zimbabwe in April, as the pariah Middle Eastern nation tries to build alliances against stronger U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program.

Khosrow Rezazadeh, Iran's ambassador to Nigeria, on Thursday confirmed Ahmadinejad's planned visit, but declined to offer further details. Nigeria's foreign ministry also declined to tell reporters about Ahmadinejad's plans, though his arrival comes as Nigeria's capital, Abuja, is scheduled to host a conference for a group of developing countries known as the D-8.

Nigeria took over the presidency of the U.N. security council on Thursday. As president, Nigeria's U.N. Ambassador Joy Ogwu will serve as the ceremonial head of the 15-member body. She also will be able to set the council's schedule and lead mediation on any crisis during Nigeria's monthlong tenure.

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