Non-Aligned countries meeting in Iran

(JTA) — A meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement countries opened in Tehran.

Representatives of 120 countries are in attendance at the summit, controversial because its host Iran is locked in a battle with western countries over transparency of its nuclear program.

“The non-aligned (movement) must seriously oppose … unilateral economic sanctions which have been enacted by certain countries against non-aligned countries,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi  said at the summit’s opening session, Reuters reported.

The NAM is a group of 120 nations not aligned to any major bloc. The summit marks the beginning of Iran’s three-year presidency of the group.

Among those in attendance at the summit are United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

Ban is scheduled to address the summit and to meet with senior Iranian leaders, including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said earlier this month that “Zionism is a danger for entire humanity” and that Israel “is a cancerous tumor … in [the] heart of [the] Muslim world

Last week, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr instructed his country’s delegates to walk out if there is any “anti-Semitic rhetoric.”

A minor crisis developed after reports that Iran had invited Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh to the summit. Following the reports Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday threatened to cancel his participation, saying his Fatah Party represents the Palestinian people.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast later said that Abbas received the only official invitation from the Palestinian community.

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