The Non-Aligned Movement
(NAM) web site says it has 115 members "representing the interests and
priorities of developing countries."
Wikipedia calls NAM a 120 member body with 21 observer countries. Member
states include India, Egypt, Venezuela, and Indonesia. Observer ones
include China, Russia, and Brazil.
NAM originated from the 1955 Asia-Africa Conference. Twenty-nine states
participated. Mostly former African and Asian colonies comprised them.
They convened to discuss common concerns, development plans, and international
Issues addressed included major power pressures, maintaining independence,
and opposing neocolonialism, especially "western domination."
In 1961, 25 countries participated in the first Belgrade, Yugoslavia
summit. Concerns then focused on an accelerating Cold War arms race.
Yugoslavia's Josip Broz Tito was its first secretary-general, Egypt's
Gamal Abdel Nasser its second. Egypt's Mohamed Morsi serves as current
Earlier ones included Fidel and Raul Castro, Nelson Mandela, Zambia's
Kenneth Kaunda, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki.
Havana hosted the 1979 summit. Fidel Castro enunciated the Havana Declaration
of 1979, saying:
It's purpose is to ensure "the national independence, sovereignty, territorial
integrity, and security of non-aligned countries (in their) struggle
against imperialism, colonialism, neocolonialism, racism, and all forms
of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony
as well as as against great power and bloc politic."
Membership criteria were adopted. They included:
(1) Independent policies based on "the coexistence of States with different
political and social systems" and non-alignment.
(2) Support for "Movements for National Independence."
(3) Countries belonging to "multilateral military alliance(s)" are excluded.
(4) Countries accepted for membership with them "should not be one(s)
deliberately concluded in the context of Great Power conflicts."
(5) If foreign military bases were present on their territory, they
should not have been granted "in the context of Great Power conflicts."
Post-Cold War, economic and other issues dominated summits more than
political ones. Member states work with developed ones.
At the same time, the Foreign Ministry and Permanent Mission assume
administrative responsibility duties. Chairmen are charged with promoting
NAM principles and activities.
Rotating chairs head NAM. Summits are occasions when host country heads
of state become secretary-general.
NAM holds its 16th summit from August 26 - 31. Tehran is host city.
In early June, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast
told the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA):
"All required arrangements with regards to the NAM meeting in Tehran
late summer have been made according to the scheduled timetable."
"All the NAM heads of state would be invited to the meeting and the
presence of high-ranking officials from the member-states will boost
the position and role of international institution in the world."
He added that Iran will assume NAM's rotating presidency for the next
three years. In 2015, Venezuela hosts the 17th summit.
On August 14, head of Iran's parliament Economic Commission Arsalan
"In our meetings with the officials of the NAM member states we should
brief them on the illegality of these sanctions and talk to them to
make these sanctions ineffective."
Tehran plans to stress member economic independence, he added. "We wish
the NAM countries to prepare the grounds for confronting the economic
threats posed by the hegemonic states."
Also on August 14, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast
said Israeli efforts to dissuade world officials from participating
won't influence independent states.
"Participation of so many delegations at high-profile levels in such
an important summit in Tehran is not an issue which can be affected
by the struggles of the Zionist regime officials, who have no say in
"Independent states would never change their opinions and views for
the sake of the officials of this illegitimate regime which has no weight
in international equations."
State broadcaster IRIB quoted Iranian lawmaker Abed Fattahi saying NAM
in Tehran "will symbolize the Islamic Republic's strength and successful
diplomacy in the international arena."
On August 9, Netanyahu urged UN Secretary-General to cancel plans to
attend. He called doing so "a big mistake, even if it is being done
out of good intentions."
In a private phone call, he repeated the same canards about so-called
Iranian anti-Semitism, wanting Israel destroyed, its nuclear weapons
program, anti-Israeli terrorist attacks, and danger to world peace.
He said attending would sully his office's reputation and reward "Iranian
obstinacy and grant legitimacy to a regime that calls for and openly
acts to destroy Israel - a UN member state."
Netanyahu leaked information about his conversation. According to unnamed
sources, Ban was upset over what he believes was meant to embarrass
him. Nonetheless, he may not attend.
Unconfirmed reports said he sees no reason to visit an anti-Semitic
country. His spokesman declined comment. Iran's vice president for international
affairs, Ali Saeedlou, said he would attend.
At the same time, reports suggest Israel plans an international media
campaign geared at thwarting his trip. It already began on Netanyahu's
Facebook page, as well one called Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel.
Israeli allies are being urged to tell others that Ban's place isn't
in Tehran. Doing so may backfire.
Iran's Ramin Mehman-Parast commented on Netanyahu's remarks, saying:
"We don't think that the stance of the UN and its Secretary-General
or the stance of independent states whose officials decide independently
can be influenced by these measures (of Israel)."
He also highlighted the number of participating nations. At least 50
will attend, including 30 or more presidents. "The presence of 50 delegations
at the levels of president, vice-president, prime minister and foreign
minister in the Tehran meeting is definite and the number is growing
gradually," he added.
"The larger the number of high-ranking world leaders and officials in
this summit will be, the more the possibility will be for consultations
and bigger decisions to solve the regional and international crises."
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's media advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr,
Tehran's summit "will show that this unipolar world is filled with justice-seeking
countries, like the members of the NAM."
Lawmaker Gholam Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam added that Washington "failed
in its goal of isolating the Islamic republic from the rest of the world."
"Iran is providing answers to the world's questions," non-aligned nations
need to hear. Ahead of the summit, security is enhanced. Syria's Bashar
al-Assad has pressing domestic problems. He's unable to attend.
On August 15, Press TV reported that India's ambassador to Iran, DP
Srivastava said New Delhi will send Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and
Foreign Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna.
Noting that the summit comes at "a critical juncture when the world
and region are experiencing various developments and suffering from
many problems," the conference provides "a favorable opportunity for
useful consultations and offering suitable solution to regional and
He added that India remains committed to NAM principles.
Press TV said Ban is expected to attend. Perhaps he'll announce his
intentions one way or another shortly.
During the weeklong summit, Iran will present plans to revitalize NAM
and seek support for its peaceful nuclear program. Tehran will also
urge resistance against Washington's imperial agenda.
Hosting NAM's 16th summit is significant for Iran. Whatever is accomplished,
it shows dozens of nations express support. They represent resistance
against US/Israeli imperial ambitions. Their own interests are at stake
as well as Iran's. Unity provides strength. Whether they're up to the
challenge remains to be seen.
Iran hysteria continues unabated. Inflammatory media propaganda continues
relentlessly. Perhaps one day world leaders will understand that supporting
Israel's security harms their own. The same goes for Washington in spades.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
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