Thursday, August 30, 2012

Iran opens 16th NAM Summit with a frontal attack on America

Families of 'martyrs', as Iran calls its nuclear scientists killed in bomb attacks, were among the delegates and audience at the opening ceremony of the 16th NAM Summit in Tehran on Thursday morning.

Women and children holding up images of the sons, husbands and fathers they lost in front of 30 world leaders at the summit are a part of the massive public relations exercise Iran has launched by hosting the summit.

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, opened the summit by launching a frontal attack on the United States and its 'Zionist' supporters. Calling for the 120-member Non Aligned Movement (NAM) to play a new role on the world stage in a post-Cold War world, he said NAM should ensure it stops what he called the "domination of hegemonic western powers led by the US government."

The Iranian government alleges its scientists were killed by Israeli agents. In fact, the proxy war between Iran and Israel is being fought elsewhere in the world, including India, where an Israeli diplomat was attacked in an Iranian plot in the heart of central Delhi a few months ago.

While Indian government sources have indicated clearly there is no question of Iran getting away with using the NAM forum to send a message to the West, or to help Iran prove its own global prominence or legitimacy, Mr Khamenei's speech clearly indicates the Iranians have every intention to do so.

Calling the UN Security Council an "illogical, unjust, antiquated relic of the past that enables the US and its allies to impose their will", Mr Ayatollah said the pursuit of nuclear energy and fuel for peaceful use is everyone's right, and that those who have stockpiles of "anti-human bombs have no right to call themselves standard bearers of international security."

Iran takes over the presidency of NAM from Egypt for the next three years. If this opening ceremony is any indication of just how Iran intends to use its term, the diplomatic challenge for the remaining 119 members of the group that sees itself as empowered to take independent decisions based on their own national interests and foreign policies, is only just beginning.