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Non-Aligned Movement: Iran's Real Achievements
Editor's note: Mahmoud Reza Golshanpazhooh is the Executive Editor of Iran Review.
The 16th Summit meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which had started out on August 26, wrapped up on Friday, August 31, with Iran officially assuming rotational presidency of the movement for the next three years. In addition to the fact that global media focus on this Summit was much more concentrated than previous ones in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh or Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur, the mere volume of analyses as well as media and diplomatic speculations surrounding Tehran meeting was incomparably higher than its predecessors. Almost full-time presence of the host country in the media limelight; attendance of a higher number of heads of state and other high-ranking representatives; speculations about the contents of their possible addresses to the Summit; and the media hype launched by Israel, followed by the United States, against attending heads of state which actually backfired and made the media more avid about the Summit’s information, were major factors which turned Tehran Summit into a different event.
As is usual with all other major events, all the incidents, happenings, and even reactions shown throughout the Summit were rapidly forgotten soon after the end of the meeting and global media focused on new developments which are followed by their audiences. Regardless of developments and decisions of the Summit, Iran's diplomatic apparatus can give a new life to the movement and activate its hidden potentials by using smart management, making perseverant efforts in multilateral diplomacy and trying to give a more specialized dimension to large-scale issues discussed in the final statement of the Summit. The following points can be helpful in this regard.
1. Without a doubt, erroneous translation of the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s address into Persian (which I believe was a great mistake) should not be easily overlooked. However, the positive outcomes of his presence in the Summit cannot be also downplayed. Let’s not forget that the complete text of Morsi’s speech was broadcast by the English-language Press TV channel as well as the Arabic-language Al-Alam, both of which belong to Iran. Therefore, the aforesaid mistake should not be construed as the official policy of the Iranian government. On the other hand, the approach that Mr. Morsi took to the issue of Palestine, the faulty structure of the United Nations Security Council, the need for democratic participation of all countries in global management, and his emphasis on the rights of all nations to peaceful use of the nuclear energy were similar in form and content to Iran's basic policies. In his address to the Summit before Morsi’s speech, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei had pointed to the same issues from his own viewpoint. Therefore, looking at this issue from this angle will make it clear that even short presence of Morsi in Tehran NAM Summit had many positive outcomes for the event. These outcomes are big enough to overshadow the purposive media hype that the Western channels have launched over erroneous Persian translation of his remarks.
2. The composition of the final statement of the Summit on the issue of Palestine, opposition to occupationist policies, and recognizing the rights of the oppressed nation of Palestine indicates unanimity of, at least, 120 world countries on the issue of Palestine. It also denotes how different these countries’ approach to Palestine is from that of the United States, Israel and a few European allies of the Zionist regime in Tel Aviv. This is exact repetition of what happens every single year at the UN General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, and many other UN affiliated bodies against Israel, which is regularly faced with indifference of Israel and increased support of the United States for the Zionist entity. However, dedicating a whole paragraph of the final statement to this issue represents the insistence of the Summit’s participants on an ideal which has been on the agenda of such meetings for about 50 years. Although this insistence has had no apparent result, its least use is to prevent the Palestinian cause from being forgotten.
3. Dedicating three full paragraphs of the statement to the nuclear issue [of Iran] in addition to one paragraph in criticism of the West’s unfair sanctions against Iran is also in line with all conditions and viewpoints that the Islamic Republic has been raising in international bodies for many long years. Therefore, this is also another achievement for the Islamic Republic especially at a time that the United States is trying to make the world believe that even thinking like Iran and sympathizing with Tehran’s positions will entail a cost.
4. The NAM Summit has ended and heads of state in addition to other participants are back in their countries. It will be unrealistic to assume that in the wake of the Summit, the viewpoints and votes of NAM member states will change in the International Atomic Energy Agency, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and similar world bodies, and those countries which had already voted positive to anti-Iran resolutions or abstained, will now vote negative. There is no doubt that nobody at the high and expert levels of the Iranian foreign policy has ever thought, even for a moment, about such a change as a possible outcome of the Summit. In reality, however, if Iran has been able to make the world listen to part of the realities beyond the hype of hostile media; if it has been able to introduce even part of its huge cultural, scientific, civilizational, and artistic capacities to a few thousands of foreign guests; if it has been able to transfer the viewpoints of Tehran’s highest levels on such issues as nuclear energy, human rights and the existing system of world management directly to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon while listening to his critical remarks; if Iran has been able to provide the best and highest security conditions for about thirty-odd heads of state and their accompanying high-ranking delegations by defying hostile propaganda which aimed to depict Iran's imagined insecurity to the world; then it would have earned great achievements which are very valuable to the Islamic establishment in Iran under present circumstances.
From this point on, if Iran can prove in the forthcoming 21st meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in addition to the annual meeting of the General Assembly that the statements of the NAM have come to life again and its positions are transparent, fundamental, and based on collective will of the NAM members that seek to defend independence, and territorial integrity as well as traditional, cultural and national values of all nations, then one may claim that the movement’s engine has revved up again and will not be turned off in the foreseeable future.