Iran hosts Non Aligned Summit
Iran is hosting the sixteenth Non-Aligned Movement Summit (NAM) which starts today and will continue until Friday. Speakers of note include the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and Iran’s Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi.
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is attending as is the Foreign Minister of Bahrain, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa; Bahrain and Iran broke off diplomatic relations last year after Iran condemned a crackdown by Bahrain of street protests.
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad will be attending on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad. Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was to attend but has saif that he will withdraw if Hamas’ Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh attends.
The Tehran Times reports that other notable leaders attending include “Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Kim Yong-nam, the chairman of the Presidium of the North Korean Supreme People’s Assembly (parliament), Kuwaiti Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Tajik President Emomali Rahmonov, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisyan, Lebanese President Michel Sulaiman, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe”.
The Non-Aligned Movement was founded in 1961 by five leaders seeking a middle course between Western and Eastern blocs during the Cold War. Today it has 120 member countries and 17 observer countries.
The various summits have been notable for who has and has not attended. The keynote speeches will be worth noting because of the current sanctions against Iran over its nuclear policy.