Non-Aligned Movement meets in Iran, defies U.S.
by Sara Flounders
September 2, 2012
A meeting in Tehran starting Aug. 26 puts into the sharpest perspective the
waning position of U.S. imperialism globally and especially in the Middle East.
Both the U.S. and Israel’s demands for a boycott of the meeting were
ignored. Clearly the U.S. hold is slipping.
Despite every U.S. government effort to economically strangle, militarily
blockade and politically isolate Iran, 118 countries, including 35 heads of
state and 21 foreign ministers, have accepted the invitation to send a
high-level delegation to Iran for the international gathering of the
More than 7,000 delegates are expected for NAM’s 16th summit since its
1961 inception. Iran is hosting the meeting. Its three-year tenure as head of
NAM provides Tehran with an opportunity to elevate its international standing
and show that Washington has failed to isolate it.
The media report the top issues of this world gathering will be opposition
to U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran and U.S.-NATO backed efforts to overthrow
Syria’s government. As host, Iran prepares the first draft of the
meeting’s final declaration. According to reports, the draft will affirm
Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear technology, condemn Israel’s
threats to attack Iran and censure Israel’s occupation of Palestinian
Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi will be the first Egyptian president to visit
Iran since 1979, when the two countries broke relations following Egyptian
President Anwar Sadat’s signing of the Camp David Accords, which
normalized Egypt’s relations with Israel. This action aligned Egypt with
Washington against the Iranian revolution.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, usually compliant with
Washington’s policies, said he planned to attend the Tehran gathering.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called this decision “a
The U.S. State Department’s Victoria Nuland called Tehran “a
strange place and an inappropriate place for this meeting” and emphasized
that the U.S. considers Iran a threat to the region and the world. (state.gov,
The Non-Aligned Movement was founded in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in 1961 and
was comprised mainly of former colonial countries that were allied militarily
neither to the U.S. nor the Soviet Union.
Why at this time are so many countries and heads of state interested in
participating in a meeting in Tehran, despite Washington’s stated
U.S. bullying can’t force compliance
U.S. threats against Iran far surpass economic sanctions. They include
sabotage of its infrastructure, assassination of its scientists, abductions of
citizens, internal destabilization campaigns and military encirclement.
Both the sanctions on Iran and the all-out effort to overturn the Syrian
government are U.S. efforts to create fear in any other country attempting to
develop independently of U.S. corporate domination. To enforce its policies,
Washington uses the enormous financial leverage of Wall Street banks, the
International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which operate with the banking
and financial institutions of Germany, Britain and France, and the combined
weight of all U.S.-dominated NATO countries.
In January, U.S. congressional legislation demanded that every country in
the world participate in economic sanctions and end all purchases of Iranian
oil. In March, Iranian banks were disconnected from the SWIFT network that
enables electronic financial transactions.
July 1 was to be the global cutoff in all oil sales and banking transactions
with Iran. Pressure on countries that import Iranian oil were stepped up, as
the U.S. and European governments threatened to take action against those who
failed to apply sanctions. These steps were supposed to unravel Iran’s
The ability of the world’s largest corporations and banks to seize
assets and block all economic transactions threatens every developing country.
But the global capitalist system is in crisis and disarray. Western financial
institutions provide scant new investment money. The U.S. empire offers
developing and formerly colonized countries little and demands compliance with
its plans and aims.
Even from a strictly business perspective, the governments of many countries
knew that sanctions would hurt not only the Iranian economy but also their own
economies, by cutting off their commerce with the largest and most stable
economy in the region.
Immediately, China, Russia, India, the ALBA Bloc in Latin America, and even
Pakistan and South Korea announced they would not stop buying Iranian petroleum
products. The majority of the global population lives in these countries.
Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran
After waging war for a decade and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan with
hundreds of thousands of troops, spending trillions of dollars and destroying
both countries, Washington is still frustrated by reports that Iraq and
Afghanistan are trading with Iran.
The Aug. 18 New York Times reported: “President Obama’s
announcement last month that he was barring a Baghdad bank from any dealings
with the American banking system … [was] a rare acknowledgment of a
delicate problem facing the administration in a country that American troops
just left: for months Iraq has been helping Iran skirt economic sanctions.
“American officials learned that the Iraqi government was aiding the
Iranians by allowing them to use Iraqi airspace to ferry supplies to
Iraq is now a major consumer of Iranian manufactured goods partly because
Iraq has virtually no industry of its own. A high-ranking Iraqi delegation
visited Tehran in August to increase commercial relations.
About 50 percent of Afghanistan’s oil comes from Iran, Afghan Minister
of Commerce Anwar al Haq Ahady told reporters at a Washington Post roundtable.
(Huffington Post, May 9)
Meanwhile, Afghan traders have proved more than willing to exchange dollars
for rials, usable as a currency in many parts of western Afghanistan.
Truckloads of cash are crossing the border, allowing Iran to bolster its
reserves of dollars, euros and precious metals to stabilize its exchange rates.
(New York Times, Aug. 17)
The Pentagon has demonstrated its capacity to lay waste to a country through
massive bombardment. But it is unable to introduce any progressive change or
Of course, the governments of some countries within the Non-Aligned Movement
have had sharp conflicts and contradictions with each other. But
Washington’s apprehension is that under the three-year presidency of
Iran, NAM may again focus on its original principle of promoting national
independence, self-determination, territorial integrity, and the struggle
against the heritage of colonialism and imperialism, as Fidel Castro called for
at a 1979 NAM meeting in Havana.
This Tehran gathering of many of the world’s developing countries is a
sharp challenge to the U.S. and Western imperialist powers and NATO, which
claim to speak for the international community and for human rights while
calling for regime change, armed intervention, no-fly zones in Syria and
threatening wider war against Iran.