The leadership of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) has been formally transferred to Iran this week. In Tehran as one would expect, the theme of most debates and discussions circle around the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) which is now taking place from August 26 to 31, 2012.. While friends and foes of the Islamic Republic all agree that this is an exceptional opportunity in difficult times of sanctions, pressures and incessant threats from Israel and the US, critics hope that Iranian diplomacy would be efficient enough to make the best of this important gathering of growing voices against western influence.
NAM was founded in Belgrade in 1961, based on a stark reality of that age , recognized particularly by the Yugoslavia's President Josip Broz Tito, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ghanian President Kwame Nkrumah and Indonesian President Sukarno. Non alignment has hence been valued as a position of independence and integrity for nations rising from the clutches of colonialism and imperialism. - Even though the group was formed in the cold war era atmosphere, it has fared well in proving its effectiveness in changing political orientations. After the downfall of Communism, a new enemy had to emerge to justify the military expenses and ventures of US and the West , 9-11 provided the pretext for a new era of the" Crusades" as George Bush II had once mentioned. The NAM stood firm in negation of the unilateral and militaristic approaches of the terrible Bush era.
Now, that Iran is being targeted in an unjustified manner, Syria is broiling over civil war and the transformations in the Arab world have weakened pro-west allies, the NAM certainly have an important ax to grind and a influential card to play.
In international negotiations on the environment, dealing with environmental conventions such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the G77 or group of developing nations ( which began as 77 but now amounts to more than 120 countries) has very similar orientations as the NAM and enjoys a unique leverage among groupings in the UN. In 2001, when Iran became the rotating President of the G77, we played an important role in protecting the multilateral nature of UN decision making by supporting the Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol amid the unilateral and antagonistic approach of the Bush administration. The G77 and NAM are parallel groups which bear important leverage in multilateral international mechanisms.
Even amidst widespread national concern over pressures against reformists and internal opposition groups and increasing inflation, Iran has much to gain in this event . The hope is that the convening of the 16th NAM in Tehran would improve Iran's relations with the international community and alleviate economic pressures on the global side. In the internal political atmosphere, there is a general expectation that this event would also alleviate pressures against internal opposition groups and reformists and lead to a more stable situation at the national level.