Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is using the Tehran summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) as a platform to challenge the legitimacy of US-backed sanctions against the Islamic republic.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is attending the summit, along with 24 presidents, eight prime ministers, 50 foreign ministers and three kings.
Iran has reportedly offered delegates the chance to visit its nuclear facilities – centre of a diplomatic dispute with the US and its Western allies not present at the summit – as well as tours of various industrial centres.
The Islamic republic is trying to use the visit of the UN’s head to show a country unaffected by the deepening global economic isolation imposed on it by the West.
However, on 29 August, Ban pointed out “serious concerns” over Tehran’s human rights record during a news conference sat next to Iran’s parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani, who frowned at the statement, according to Associated Press.
Other high-profile leaders attending the summit include Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi. The official leaders’ summit takes place on 30-31 August, preceded by senior officials and ministerial meetings during 26-29 August.
Iran will assume leadership of NAM after the summit until 2015. The 120-state group was created in 1961 as a union of countries considering themselves unaligned with the two global superpowers during the Cold War.