Information Clearinghouse & Associated Press & Thomas Erdbrink / The New York Times – 2012-08-30 01:06:52
Iran’s Call for Nuclear Abolition by 2025 Is Unreported by New York Times
Alice Slater / Information Clearing House
NEW YORK (August 28, 2012) — The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), formed in 1961 during the Cold War, is a group of 120 states and 17 observer states not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. The NAM held its opening 2012 session yesterday under the new chairmanship of Iran, which succeeded Egypt as the Chair.
Significantly, an Associated Press story in the Washington Post headlined, “Iran opens nonaligned summit with calls for nuclear arms ban”, reported that “Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi opened the gathering by noting commitment to a previous goal from the nonaligned group, known as NAM, to remove the world’s nuclear arsenals within 13 years. ‘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,’ he told delegates.”
Yet the New York Times, which has been beating the drums for war with Iran, just as it played a disgraceful role in the deceptive reporting during the lead-up to the Iraq War, never mentioned Iran’s proposal for nuclear abolition.
The Times carried the bland headline on its front page, “At Summit Meeting, Iran Has a Message for the World”, and then went on to state, “the message is clear. As Iran plays host to the biggest international conference Å it wants to tell its side of the long standoff with the Western powers which are increasingly convinced that Tehran is pursuing nuclear weapons”, without ever reporting Iran’s offer to support the NAM proposal for the abolition of nuclear weapons by 2025.
Surely the most sensible way to deal with Iran’s nascent nuclear weapons capacity is to call all the nations to the table to negotiate a treaty to ban the bomb. That would mean abolishing the 20,000 nuclear bombs on the planet-in the US, UK, Russia, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel-with 19,000 of them in the US and Russia.
In order to get Russia and China to the table, the US will also have to give up its dreams of dominating the earth with missile “defenses” which, driven by corrupt military contractors and a corporate- owned Congress, are currently being planted and based in provocative rings around Russia and China.
The ball is in the US court to make good faith efforts for nuclear abolition. That would be the only principled way to deal with fears of nuclear proliferation. The US must start with a genuine offer for negotiations to finally ban the bomb in all countries, including a freeze on further missile development.
It should stop beating up on Iran and North Korea while it hypocritically continues to improve and expand the US arsenal, with tens of billions of dollars for new weapons laboratories and bomb delivery systems, and fails failing to speak out against the nuclear activities of other nations such as the enrichment of uranium in Japan and Brazil and the nuclear arsenal of Israel.
Alice Slater is NY Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and serves as its UN NGO representative. She is a member of the Global Council of Abolition 2000, a network in 95 countries working for a treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
Iran Opens Nonaligned Summit
With Calls for Nuclear Arms Ban
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran opened a world gathering of self-described nonaligned nations Sunday with a slap at the U.N. Security Council and an appeal to rid the world of nuclear weapons, even as Tehran faces Western suspicions that it is seeking its own atomic bombs.
Iran seeks to use the weeklong gathering — capped by a two-day summit of Non-Aligned Movement leaders — as a showcase of its global ties and efforts to challenge the influence of the West and its allies. Among those expected to attend include U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the prime minister of India, Manmohan Singh, whose nation remains an important Iranian oil customer as Tehran battles Western sanctions over its nuclear program.
The 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement, a holdover from the Cold War’s pull between East and West, is also seen by Iran and others as an alternative forum for current world discussions. Iran says it plans talks on a peace plan to end Syria’s civil war, but no rebel factions will attend because of Tehran’s close bonds with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi opened the gathering by noting commitment to a previous goal from the nonaligned group, known as NAM, to remove the world’s nuclear arsenals within 13 years.
“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,” he told delegates.
Iran insists it does not seek nuclear weapons. The U.S. and allies suspect that Tehran’s uranium enrichment could eventually lead to warhead-level material. They have imposed ever-tighter sanctions on Iran’s banking and oil exports in attempt to wring concessions.
Israel has said that it would consider military options if diplomacy and economic pressures fail to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Salehi criticized Israel for remaining outside the U.N. main treaty governing the spread of nuclear technology. Israel refused to discuss the full range of its military capabilities, but it is widely believed to have a nuclear arsenal.
Iran ally North Korea has withdrawn from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun arrived in Tehran Sunday to attend the meetings.
Outside the meeting site, Iran displayed three cars damaged by bomb blasts that Iran has blamed on agents from Britain, the U.S. and Britain. At least five members of Iranian scientific community, including nuclear experts, have been killed since early 2010 as part of a suspected covert war with its main foes.
Iran and proxies, in turn, have been linked by investigators to a series of attacks and plots on Israeli targets around the world.
Salehi also complained about the perception of the “falling” clout of the U.N.’s general membership at the expense of the “rising power of the U.N. Security Council,” led by permanent members U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China.
“Creating a more democratic Security Council should be considered an important part of U.N. reforms,” Salehi told the gathering.
Even before the first session got under way, however, a dispute flared over Palestinian envoys.
Iranian officials said a political leader of Tehran’s ally Hamas has not been invited to the meeting in Tehran, contradicting Hamas claims that Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was asked to come by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Hamas later Sunday that Haniyeh has dropped plans to attend.
The decision appeared aimed at avoiding a confrontation among Palestinians that could embarrass Hamas’ Iranian backers. The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had warned he would not attend if rival Haniyeh also takes part.
The militant Hamas controls Gaza, while Abbas’ Western-backed administration governs parts of the West Bank. Abbas’ Foreign Minister Riad Malki also plans to travel to Tehran on Monday.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
At Summit Meeting, Iran Has a Message for the World
Thomas Erdbrink / The New York Times
TEHERAN (August 26, 2012) — At the entrance to the convention hall where Iran is sponsoring an international summit meeting are the crumpled wreckage of three cars driven by Iranian nuclear scientists who have been killed or hurt in bomb attacks. Placards with the photos of the scientists and their children stand alongside.
The message is clear. As Iran plays host to the biggest international conference the Islamic republic has organized in its 33-year history, it wants to tell its side of the long standoff with the Western powers, which are increasingly convinced that Tehran is pursuing nuclear weapons.
Tehran, which denies that it is after the bomb, believes the scientists were killed by Israeli agents, an assertion that Israel has not acknowledged but never fully disputed.
The meeting of the so-called Nonaligned Movement, a group formed during the cold war that considers itself independent of the major powers, has so far proven to be something of a public relations success for Iran.
Last week, the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, decided to attend despite pressure from the United States and Israel. Egypt’s new president also said he would come to the conference, although his country has long been estranged from Iran, and India’s prime minister plans to bring a delegation of 250 people in an attempt to advocate for more trade with Tehran.
The announcements were seen as setbacks for efforts by the United States to isolate Iran and cripple it with sanctions.
“Two-thirds of the world’s nations are here in Tehran,” Mohammad Khazaee, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters on Sunday. “Clearly this conference will be effective for us.”
Iran’s foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, opened the meeting’s early sessions on Sunday with a plea for the 120 countries in the movement to oppose the sanctions imposed on his country, and he asked them to stand against terrorism, saying Iran is the biggest victim of terrorist attacks in the world.
An exhibition in the convention hall echoed his assertions, including pictures of victims of what Iran said were opposition bombings in the 1980s, soon after the Islamic Revolution, and of the downing of an Iranian passenger jet by a missile fired from a United States Navy ship in 1988, in what American officials say was an accident.
He also said the United States had “exploited” the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to further its “hegemonic goals.”
Given that history, Iran says it has decided not to take any chances and has launched a comprehensive security operation. More than 110,000 security forces are controlling the streets, the deputy national police commander, Ahmad Radan, told the Fars news agency over the weekend.
They are supported by 30 helicopters and nearly 3,000 patrol cars. There are roadblocks on all highways leading into Tehran, and at night there are checkpoints throughout the city.
“Despite the evil intentions of our enemies, our secret service has taken all necessary measures in order to hold the nonaligned meeting in an absolute secure environment,” Iran’s minister of intelligence, Heydar Moslehi, told state news agency IRNA.
But the tight security might have another goal: to ensure Iran’s narrative is not spoiled by its domestic political difficulties, three years after the country was convulsed by antigovernment protests that followed a disputed election and were quashed in a harsh crackdown.
Foreign-based opposition Web sites called for renewed rallies against the government during the summit meeting.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is expected to address the conference this week. And in an effort to prove that its nuclear program is peaceful, Iran is offering special tours of some of its nuclear sites.
Like most countries given a chance at worldwide exposure — witness London’s Olympics — Iran is taking other steps to present its best face.
An army of gardeners and street cleaners have been sprucing up main thoroughfares. One billboard reads: “Nonaligned Movement represents the struggle against racism, colonialism, hegemony and foreign oppression.” Floating above the city’s main Haft-e Tir square was a balloon carrying a message: “Iran, a peaceful and kind nation.”
The government even took the unusual step of subsidizing trips out of town for Tehran residents, to clear the city’s always-congested roads. Despite the economic pain of recent sanctions, the government offered those with fuel-subsidy cards an extra 30 liters of gasoline at reduced rates so they could leave the city. Tehran’s 12 million residents will also enjoy a five-day official holiday starting Tuesday, when the leaders begin gathering.
State television has presented the meeting as a “turning point,” after which Iran’s importance will grow.
The vice president for international affairs, Ali Sa’idloo, told state television that “Zionist” media had been censoring news about the event because it was too positive.
Many Iranians said they were impressed with the fresh paint jobs on buildings. But in an indication of the country’s economic setbacks, some said they wished they had not been given five days off.
“I need money, so I need to work, but now we must stay home,” said Ali Kamali, a bookbinder.
For Iran’s most hard-line officials, such suggestions were unrealistic. They hailed the summit meeting as a sign that the end of Western dominance was near.
“Electing Iran as leader of the Nonaligned Movement shows that a global resistance against America and the Zionists has taken shape,” Mohammad Reza Naghdi, the commander of a paramilitary group, told the semiofficial Fars news agency. “America better give up, as this is yet another sign of its collapse.”
It is clear that the conference is helping Iran gets its message out.
On Sunday, some delegates were shown on state TV denouncing terrorism as they stood in front of the nuclear scientists’ mangled cars.
A version of this article appeared in print on August 27, 2012, on page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: At Summit Meeting, Iran Has a Message for the World.
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