Iran trumpets NAM meeting as proof it's not isolated

UN Sec.-Gen. Ban has not yet announced whether he will attend Non-Aligned Movement summit, due to commence August 26.

Ayotollah Khamenei speaks to supporters in Tehran_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Ayotollah Khamenei speaks to supporters in Tehran_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deliberates on whether to take part in the Non-Aligned Movement’s summit of leaders at the end of the month in Tehran, Iran is already trumpeting the meeting as a sign that the country is not isolated.
According to Iran’s Press TV, head of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Alaeddin Boroujerdi said earlier this week that the summit is a “great achievement” for Iran that will dispel the idea the country is isolated internationally.
“Iran’s enemies have repeated this big lie every now and then. Nevertheless, the presence of leaders and representatives of 120 NAM member countries in Tehran will display the great potential of Iran,” Boroujerdi said.
He said NAM member states have “voiced support for the Islamic Republic’s peaceful nuclear activities in numerous meetings.”
At the 16th summit meeting of NAM leaders, which will be held August 26-31, Iran will take over from Egypt the chairmanship of the organization for the next three years.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is scheduled to address the meeting that Israel fears will give Iran the legitimacy it covets at a time of stiff sanctions.
The spokesman for the conference, Muhammad Reza Forghani, said last week that Ban will attend the conference.
Farhan Haq, a spokesman for Ban in New York, told The Jerusalem Post however, that no announcement has been made whether he will attend. Asked whether Ban was planning to go to the summit, the spokesman said that there would be no comment until an announcement was made.
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Click here for full Jpost coverage of the Iranian threat
In addition to Ban, the Iranians have also said both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Abdullah Gul were going to attend.
One Israel official said that Iranian announcements about who is attending should be taken with a grain of salt, because they are trying to use the summit as a showcase that the world is not against them. The official said that some of those who do attend will be doing so more out of a feeling of solidarity with NAM than out of wanting to bestow legitimacy on Iran.
Israel, which is lobbying Ban not to attend the meeting, is also trying to get other countries in the movement with which it has good ties to send low-level representatives. This will be more difficult, diplomatic officials said, if Ban decides to go to the conference.
Netanyahu, in a telephone conversation with Ban on Friday, appealed to him to stay away from the event.
“Mr. Secretary-General, your place is not in Tehran,” he said.
Netanyahu said Ban’s attendance would be a “major mistake,” even if carried out with good intentions, and that such a move would “grant legitimacy to a regime that is the greatest threat to world peace and security.”
The prime minister said Ban’s participation in Tehran would “stain” both the secretary-general and the UN.
Iran’s FARS news agency quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying Israel’s efforts to dissuade world officials from attending were futile since “independent states would never change their opinions and views for the sake of the officials of this illegitimate regime, which has no weight in international equations.”
Mehmanparast also dismissed Netanyahu’s conversation with Ban, saying he did not think the secretary-general’s stance “can be influenced by these measures.”