The two-day summit of NAM leaders opened in Tehran with Ayatollah Khamenei emphasizing Iran’s right to develop its peaceful nuclear program and Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi expressing support for the Syrian opposition.
The NAM summit of state leaders of developing countries opened today, Thursday, in northern Tehran in a heavily secured area, as shown on Iranian state television.
The summit was attended by presidents of Afghanistan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Sudan, Zimbabwe and the Palestinian Authority as well as the emir of Qatar. The prime minister of India, Iraq and Syria were also present as was the parliamentary president of North Korea, Kim Yong-Nam.
While 29 of the 120 NAM member states were represented by heads of state, the rest were represented by vice presidents, deputy prime minister, foreign ministers and other envoys.
Iran’s Supreme Leader opened the summit with statements criticizing the structure of the United Nations, which he described as “undemocratic’ and “a blatant dictatorship.” He also accused Western countries of using terrorism and the support of democracy and human rights as excuses to interfere in other countries.
Ayatollah Khamenei also stressed that Iran is not seeking to build nuclear weapons but that it will continue producing fuel for its nuclear reactors as part of its peaceful exploitation of nuclear power.
The leader of the Islamic Republic called on Western powers to cease their support of Israel, which he accused of committing countless crimes, and he maintained that the only solution to the Palestinian issue was a referendum with the participation of all Palestinians.
Following Ayatollah Khamenei, Egyptian President Mursi spoke about international issues and the role of NAM in the global scene.
Egypt has held the rotating presidency of NAM for the past three years and will pass it on to Iran during this summit.
Mursi referred to the popular uprisings in the Middle East and northern Africa as the “Arab Spring” and expressed solidarity with the struggles of the Syrian people against “the oppressive regime that has lost its legitimacy.”
He added that the people of Palestine and Syria are actively fighting for freedom justice and human dignity and that Egypt is prepared to cooperate with others to end the bloodshed in Syria.
Some reports indicate that the Syrian delegation left the room upon hearing Mursi’s statements.