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All roads lead to Tehran: 16th Non-Aligned Movement summit ends Iran's isolation

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Iran signs economic agreements with 30 NAM states

Tellingly, on the sidelines of the ongoing 16th NAM Summit Iran signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on economic and customs cooperation with 30 member states of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).


Director General of Iranian Customs International Cooperation Department Mohammad-Hossein Baghenayat announced that a number of Central Asian states as well as African and Latin American countries   were among countries which singed the agreements with Iran.


Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Algeria, Kenya, Indonesia, India, Cuba and Ecuador were among countries that inked documents with Iran on bilateral cooperation.

Taking Nonalignment Seriously

Rob Rakove, a lecturer in International Relations at Stanford University, argues that America shouldn't be so quick to dismiss it because Iran hosted the latest NAM summit.

Writing in the Foreign Policy magazine -- under the title: Taking Nonalignment Seriously -- Rakove says that the Nonalignment is not a passing fancy and its summits are not trivial events. "Both Eisenhower and Kennedy, faced with conferences in Bandung and Belgrade, concluded that they could not oppose these meetings without incurring the wrath of their attendees. Broad U.S. opposition to the summit in Tehran risks the charge of attacking nonalignment itself."

Rakove went on to say that Americans must remember that this is a diverse movement. "While it shares some common principles, it brings together a remarkably wide range of states. Understanding the NAM requires not characterizing it by the most hostile states in its midst, or treating it as a kind of grand "Axis of Evil," he said adding:

"If it has represented anything across the last 50 years, it has expressed the desire of the world's newer states to retain their political independence in an often threatening world. This should be a readily comprehensible motivation to Americans who remember the words of George Washington's farewell address. Nonalignment, in sum, cannot be wished away, and the Obama administration will repeat the errors of the past if it strays down that road again."

In terms of membership, the non-aligned bloc is second only to the UN General Assembly and includes emerging economic powerhouses such as India, while giants China and Brazil hold observer status in the group. The NAM represents nearly two-thirds of the UN members and about 55 percent of the world population. It currently consists of 120 members, 17 observer countries and 10 observer organizations. China became a NAM observer in September 1992.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 
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