NAM summit opens with focus on Syria, Iran nuclear programme

Tehran: A host of key issues like the worsening situation in Syria, Iran`s nuclear programme and other matters of global concern are set to dominate the agenda of the Non-Aligned Movement`s Summit which opened here today.

The two-day meet of the 120-nation grouping, which began with the national anthem of Iran followed by the recitation of the verses from the holy Quran, was inaugurated by Iran`s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the leaders` Summit hall in Northern Tehran.

Coming in the midst of reservations expressed by the US and some other western countries, Tehran is projecting the 16th NAM Summit as a big diplomatic victory, notwithstanding the sanctions and other financial restrictions imposed on it.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is leading the Indian delegation to the Summit, which is being attended by over 30 Heads of State and Government.

The Summit is being held after a two-day experts` meeting and a conference of the Foreign Ministers of the NAM member states which also lasted for two days.

The guest list includes UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and new Egyptian President Muhammed Mursi, the first Egyptian President to visit Iran since its Islamic revolution in 1979.

The Summit opened with Iran assuming the Chair from Egypt for the next three years.

Important leaders attending the summit included Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi, Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The US and Western countries have accused Iran of pursuing a clandestine and dangerous nuclear weapons programme.

Iran says its nuclear programme is a peaceful drive to produce electricity so that the world`s fourth-largest crude oil exporter can sell more of its oil and gas abroad.

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.