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NAM ministerial conference opens in Tehran

August 28, 2012 14:49 IST

Amid a major row between Iran and the West over its nuclear programme, foreign ministers from NAM members states are set to discuss issues like peaceful use of atomic energy at their crucial meet that began in Tehran on Tuesday.

The two-day NAM Ministerial Conference, in which India is represented by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, is to review the draft document that would be adopted at the end of the 16th Summit of their leaders, which is slated for August 30-31.

The draft statement includes issues like fight against imperialism and racism, avoiding occupation and military aggression against Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) states, stressing on the need for a world free of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction and respecting the rights of all countries across the globe to pursue peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The document has been ratified by experts of some 120 NAM member states.

The emphasis on peaceful use of nuclear energy in the NAM Summit is crucial as Iran, which is hosting the event, has been slapped with numerous sanctions by the US and other western countries over its nuclear programme.

The US and its allies, including Israel, accuse Iran of running a clandestine nuclear weapons programme, a charge vehemently denied by the Tehran, which claims that its atomic programme is for peaceful purpose.

Iran's nuclear programme has become a big thorn in its relations with the West. Israel has even threatened to carry out a direct strike on Iranian nuclear assets.

Iran's nuclear programme and the situation in Syria are two major problems plaguing the region and both these issues will be under focus during the Summit.

The Non-Aligned Movement, the rotating presidency of which was conferred to Iran on August 26, comprises two-third of the UN member states and was established in 1961 in Belgrade.

Although non-association or non-alliance with the western and eastern superpowers is a characteristic of the members of the movement, emerging superpowers such as China, Brazil and Mexico are NAM's observing members.

Countries such as India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, which have strong ties with the United States and are members of the G20 group, are among the NAM member states.

Snehesh Alex Philip in Tehran
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