The 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement kicked off in the Iranian capital of Tehran on August 25 and the heads of state and government of the 120-member organization are slated to meet on August 30 and 31 to discuss the most important international developments ranging from the violence and crisis in Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to Iran’s nuclear program. During the summit, the rotating presidency of NAM will be conferred to Iran by Egypt which has held the movement’s presidency since 2009.
Consisting of nearly two-thirds of the United Nations body, the Non-Aligned Movement is the second largest international organization, and its members are said to be politically independent of the world’s great powers; namely, the United States and its European allies. As the Cuban revolutionary President Fidel Castro stated, the ultimate objective of the movement is to foster “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries” in their “struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics.”
The United States and Israel have been intensively trying to dissuade the world leaders and politicians from attending the summit through running an all-out media campaign aimed at derailing and undermining the largest diplomatic gathering in Iran’s contemporary history; however, as Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi pointed out, more than 100 countries will be sending delegations to the summit of which 51 countries will take part in the level of president, Prime Minister and vice president.
This year’s summit is important for Iran from different viewpoints. First of all, Iran can form regional and international alliances within the framework of the NAM to circumvent the biting economic sanctions which the United States and European Union have imposed on it with respect to its nuclear program. Moreover, the summit will ostensibly foil the plots to isolate Iran and make it a secluded, unpopular country. And most importantly, by the virtue of the NAM summit, leaders will be visiting Iran who mostly shunned Iran over the past years as a result of the rigorous anti-Iranian propaganda of the mainstream, corporate media.
Bolivian President Evo Morales, Cuban President Raul Castro, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Said al Said, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, and Turkish President Abdullah Gul are among the high-ranking guests of the 16th NAM summit in Tehran.
In an excruciating defiance of the calls by Israel and the United States, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will also attend the summit.
For the past several weeks, the U.S. mainstream media has been spreading falsehoods and misinformation about Iran, decrying the fact that Iran has been selected to chair such an enormous international organization. The American journalists and political commentators spared no effort to portray Iran as an isolated and hated country, even resorting to offensive and insulting adjectives in describing Iran and its people.
“Do any of the Non-Aligned Movement member states recognize the infuriating irony that an organization seeking to solve the world’s problems and enhance its own stature in the international arena is choosing to hold its summit in one of the world’s most dangerous and problematic nations, not to mention the most blatantly anti-Semitic one, while simultaneously honoring the meeting’s hosts who regularly commit egregious human-rights abuses?” wrote Laura Kam, the Executive Director of Global Affairs at The Israel Project, a supposedly “non-profit educational organization headquartered in Washington.”
Ignoring the glorious civilization, rich culture and ancient past of Iran, the executive director of this pro-Israeli lobby has recklessly called Iran “one of the world’s most dangerous and problematic nations.” However, such descriptions and attributions are not unprecedented. The pro-war, neo-conservative commentators and journalists have frequently talked of Iran in such a pejorative and derogatory way. In an October 12, 2011 article published on Foreign Policy titled “A History of Violence,” Matthew Levitt, an American expert on “Islamist terrorism” posed the question that “Is there anyone who still doubts that Iran is a terrorist state?” and wrote, “Iran’s willingness to use brutal means to achieve its foreign-policy goals is nothing new. Since the creation of the Islamic Republic, U.S. intelligence agencies have repeatedly identified terrorism as one of the regime’s signature calling cards.”
Writing for The Daily Mail, British journalist Max Hastings pointed out on March 7, 2012 that “bombing Iran may appear justified,” adding that “[f]ew of us doubt that Iran is a rogue state led by dangerous fanatics. The world would be a safer place if Iran’s nuclear facilities disappeared beneath a heap of rubble.”
Jonathan S. Tobin, the senior online editor of the Commentary Magazine, wrote in a July 20, 2012 article after the deadly attack on the Israeli tourists in Bulgaria that Iran should be held responsible, given its long history of “promoting terrorism”:
Iran is a terrorist state, infused with Jew-hatred and determined to achieve its nuclear goal. Until the administration starts talking — and acting — as if it understands this, its Iran policy will remain a muddle of half-hearted and ineffective measures.
Such statements are frequently heard from the Western political commentators and officials. They tend to consider Iran a threat to world peace and don’t refrain from calling for a military strike against Iran to eliminate this threat.
The NAM summit in Tehran, however, will demonstrate that the term “international community” cannot be exclusively used to refer to the United States and its allies. There are other countries in the world that are entitled to the right of self-determination and maybe are not willing to be entrapped in the neo-conservative war propaganda against Iran.
The gathering of some 51 heads of state and delegations from international organizations and observing members of the Non-Aligned Movement is surely disappointing for those who want to find Iran isolated and packed down, whether it’s the United States, Israel or the European powers.