Iran appeals for nuclear weapons ban at NAM summit


Senior delegations attend the opening session of the 16th Non-Alligned Movement summit in Tehran on Aug. 26, 2012.



Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday told delegations of the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement that Iran firmly believes in nuclear disarmament, the Associated Press reported.

Held in Terhan, Salehi inaugurated the 16th NAM summit by saying, “We believe that the timetable for ultimate removal of nuclear weapons by 2025, which was proposed by NAM, will only be realized if we follow it up decisively," according to the AP.

Nuclear disarmament is an official goal of the NAM, a group that began in 1961 as a collection of nations not allied with America or the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

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No doubt, many will view Salehi's comment as blatant hypocrisy. The United States, Israel and their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing nuclear armament through its uranium enrichment program. Iran denies these claims. Increasingly, restrictive economic sanctions on oil exports and international banking have been imposed on Iran.

However, this is not the first time Foreign Minister Salehi has denounced nuclear arms. In February, after Iran's negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency broke down, Salehi said, according to Reuters:

"I would like to re-emphasize that we do not see any glory, pride or power in the nuclear weapons, quite the opposite based on the religious decree issued by our supreme leader, the production, possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, are illegitimate, futile, harmful, dangerous and prohibited as a great sin."

If you've never heard of the NAM summit before, GlobalPost describes the movement here. Al Jazerra offers a good primer in the following video: