NAM Tehran Summit:‘Great Satan’ humbled
September 07, 2012
As they say in Persian, for every Pharaoh, there is a Moses. A living example is the case of the so-called sole superpower, the United States of America - which had in a stupor declared this century its handmaid – versus the Islamic Republic of Iran.
This past week marked the humbling of the ‘Great Satan’ (Shaitan-i- Buzurg) as Ayatollah Khomeini had once famously described America. In the face of all attempts and pressure by the U.S. and its Western allies; with their love child Israel being in the forefront; to sabotage the scheduled Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran, not only was the meeting successfully held in the Iranian capital, but the organisation also stood rejuvenated after remaining in something of a hibernation with the end of the Cold War two decades ago.
NAM was set up in 1961 by leaders of five of the largest and most influential countries of the Third World, including of Yugoslavia's president, Josip Broz Tito; Indonesia's first president, Sukarno; Egypt's second president, Gamal Abdel Nasser; Ghana's first president Kwame Nkrumah; and India's first prime minister, Nehru. All of them stood for a middle course for countries that were not aligned with either the Western or the Eastern bloc.
The organization grew rapidly and came to have a prominent role in the liberation struggle by Western colonies in Afro-Asia. After the defeat of the Soviet Union in the decade-long (1979-1989) heroic war fought by the Afghans to rid their homeland of foreign occupation and the consequent breakup of the former, NAM survived basically as an ineffective body.
In fact, the very invasion and occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union in 1979 had brought serious differences within some member States of the organization. Pakistan, for instance, came out in open and active opposition to the Afghan Occupation, whereas India, given its strategic alliance with the Soviet Union, remained unconcerned.
As for the recently-concluded Tehran summit, it became highly contentious in view of U.S.-led global campaign for well over three decades now for the international community to treat post-Revolution Iran as a pariah State. The first serious blow received by the United States and Israel in this regard was the non-compliance by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, of the public stance of both the countries for him not to attend the summit.
At any rate, the summit had acquired extraordinary significance in view of the developing situation in one of NAM’s member States, Syria. That question was understandably on top of the summit agenda. Other items included Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme; Afghanistan, especially in the context of the post-2014 scaling down of NATO and ISAF occupation forces; the Palestinian liberation movement; together of course with the host of other international and global issues.
In this scenario, the host country’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was to set the ball rolling with his verbal bout with the UN chief in a meeting between them ahead of the summit. He was reported to have told Ban Ki-moon that the organization he heads is defective, in thrall to the U.S. and has been sabotaging Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme. He also reminded the UN Secretary General that the International Atomic Energy Agency is obliged to give Iran technical and scientific aid which it has not been doing ever since the Islamic Revolution.
The summit itself was attended by 25 heads of States or governments, the vice-presidents, ministers and other senior officials of another 95 member States. That adds up to the total NAM membership comprising 120 countries. Besides that, representatives of 16 observer and guest countries were also present.
The final communiqué which was adopted unanimously at the conclusion of the conference included over seven hundred clauses. The highlights included support for Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme, the rejection of America’s unilateral actions against the host country and a call for greater efforts to support the Palestinian cause.
The NAM States also condemned all forms of terrorism, including state-sponsored terrorism, declared that the structure of the United Nations should be revised, and said every country has the right to have a peaceful nuclear energy programme In addition, the Tehran Declaration of NAM also said that any attack on the nuclear facilities of any country would be a serious threat to humanity and the environment and would be a violation of international law, the UN Charter, and the International Atomic Energy Agency Statute.
Other than the summit itself, perhaps the most heartening outcome of consultations held on the occasion was the support received by Iran to be included in finding a negotiated solution to the Syrian crisis. As Yassir Ali, spokesman for Egypt’s new President Mohammad Mursi, put it, “Iran would be part of solution and not the problem.”
The UN Secretary General also emphasized Iran’s “very important” and “influential” status in the region and said, "In regard to Syria, I, as the secretary general of the United Nations, ask Iran to pave the way for the resolution of the Syrian crisis through using its influence and power."
At the same time, the occasion provided useful opportunities not only to Iran to further its political and economic interests, but also for many of the leaders attending the summit to hold mutually beneficial bilateral meetings with each other. President Zardari, for one, met leaders of Iran, India, Sri Lanka and Tajikistan.
The writer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.