By Pete Papaherakles
Top officials representing 120 governments—the majority of the world—showed up in Tehran on August 26 to attend the week-long “Non-Aligned Movement” (NAM) summit, where they unanimously voted to support Iran’s nuclear energy program and condemn the American-led attempt to isolate and punish the Islamic republic.
Despite the fact that the summit marked the largest international gathering in Tehran since the country’s founding in 1979, the Western mainstream media barely mentioned it. It was the strongest show of support ever for Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy.
The Tehran declaration document produced at the summit not only recognizes Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy, but also acknowledges the right to ownership of a full nuclear fuel cycle, which means uranium enrichment—a matter of deep dispute in the West. It was noted that Iran is totally compliant with the terms of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty it signed, whereas Israel, which has threatened to attack Iran, has never signed the treaty even while possessing a large, undisclosed nuclear arsenal.
The summit was attended by two-thirds of all UN member countries. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon spoke at the conference, in spite of U.S. and Israeli pressure not to attend. His presence was of great political importance to Iran. To put this all in perspective, the U.S. State Department only recognizes 194 countries.
Fifty heads of state also attended, including Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Egyptian President Mohamad Morsi.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme ruler, said in his speech that the use of nuclear weapons is an “unforgivable sin” but the use of peaceful nuclear energy is “every country’s right” and that Iran will never give up that right. While condemning the policies of the U.S. and Israel toward Iran, he said that “the NAM, which includes almost two-thirds of the world community, can play a major role in shaping [the] future.”
This historic summit has sent a powerful message that the majority of the world is on Iran’s side and is not on the side of the U.S. or Israel. Could this explain why Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey while in Israel recently said to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. would not back a war against Iran? The question on everyone’s mind now is will the Israelis try to go it alone?
Peter Papaherakles, a U.S. citizen since 1986, was born in Greece. He is AFP’s outreach director. If you would like to see AFP speakers at your rally, contact Pete at 202-544-5977.