The NAM Summit Conference: Tehran 2012
Dr. Rasheed Hasan Khan
Tehran became the centre of international attention in the last week of August 2012 when it hosted the 16 th Summit Conference of The Non-aligned Movement. Iran was also elected the President of Non Aligned Movement, replacing Egypt. Though its international profile is slightly diminished since its glory days during the cold war era, when legendry leaders like Nasir, Soekarno, Zhou Enlai and Nehru provided it leadership. It is still, after the U.N. the largest international organizational grouping, with 120 members and 17 observer countries. This is about two thirds of the total U.N. membership.
The convening of the Summit in Teheran was not to the liking of the U.S, its NATO allies and Israel. Therefore the Media in the West provided minimal and critical coverage to the proceedings. The Media in Pakistan, strangely, took the lead from their Western counterparts and largely ignored the NAM Summit. The excerpt given below from an interview of the Iranian Foreign Minister and the commentary by interviewer in TIME magazine illustrates the point.
“Iran’s goal in playing host to more than 50 heads of state has been to show the world that it is not isolated and has broad support, particularly in the developing world, for its right to develop nuclear power. Tehran has inserted language in the conference resolution condemning “unilateral” sanctions. In the past two months, a E.U. embargo on Iranian oil and U.S. financial restrictions have isolated Iran’s economy and its banks from the global market, resulting in a 50% devaluation of its currency, the rial.
The sanctions were put in place to discourage Iran’s nuclear program that Iran says is purely for research, but that most of the Western world believes is a quest for weapons. Three rounds of talks earlier this year have yielded little. Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic continues its uranium enrichment, and Israel threatens to bomb Iran’s suspected nuclear sites. Still, Salehi was bullish that a diplomatic solution was still possible between the U.S., Russia, China, the U.K., France, Germany (together known as the P5+1) and Iran. “I’m optimistic about the future outcome of the talks of the P5+1, but we have to be a little patient and be cautious in our rhetoric and reactions and keep our limits. I’m of the view that there is a way out based on a win-win situation,” he said. “We recognize, although we see no justification for the worries of the 5+1 vis-à-vis our peaceful nuclear activities, but mechanisms [are being worked on] internationally to remove all these worries. But at the same time, we expect in return they also recognize our full rights to peaceful nuclear activities, including the right to enrichment and the complete fuel cycle.”
A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since 9/11 in 2001. The so called War against Terror has run its course. The problematic policy pronouncements of the U.S government regarding the whole gamut of U.S. actions overseas have left myriad questions unanswered. A hasty and inconclusive extrication from Iraq did not obviate its entrapment in the Afghan Quagmire. Iraq and Afghanistan are totally devastated, but it is the countries situated in the geographical vicinity of Iraq and Afghanistan which have suffered and will continue to suffer great damage in terms of economic, political, military and human terms for a considerable period of time in the foreseeable future.
More than a decade ago an anxious and horrified world watched the antics of U.S. Imperialism gone berserk, spreading death and destruction half a world away. But this initial horror soon turned into abhorrence and resistance. Therefore when the U.S. Imperialists embarked on their campaign of ‘Colored Revolutions ‘in Egypt, Libya and Syria which are nothing but U.S. military interventions using mercenaries, disguised as democratic struggles of the people, the international community had to take the necessary steps to defeat the Imperialist designs. Thus, the U.S. sponsored Resolution in the U.N. on Syria was vetoed by both the Peoples Republic of China and Russia — twice, much to the chagrin of U.S. and its NATO allies. The tide was turning. China and Russia also provided moral and material support to Iran and Pakistan to resist Imperialist blackmail and barefaced interference in their internal affairs.
During the last two decades people and nations of the world have looked askance at the Imperial Hubris but were unable to take any practical steps to counter the onslaught of the sole super power. Now, with the changing international situation the role of the Third World countries and the Non Aligned Movement is assuming great significance. The NAM can provide the forum for resistance to Imperialist designs for Hegemony in the future provided the mass of the people and the Governments in the third world show Commitment and Resolve.