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Iran Opens Nonaligned Summit with Call for Nuclear Arms Ban

- Common Dreams staff

Damaged cars that three Iranian scientists were riding in when they were killed in bombings over the last three years are displayed outside the meeting of Non-Aligned Movement, NAM, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. (Photo: Vahid Salemi/ Associated Press)Iranian diplomatic leaders called for an international ban on nuclear arms by the year 2025 on Sunday, as the nation kicked off this year's Non-Aligned Nations Movement (NAM) Summit. Over 120 nations met in Tehran this weekend beginning a week-long gathering aimed at tackling global issues ranging from the conflict in Syria to nuclear proliferation.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi opened the gathering with a speech reminding NAM nations of a goal to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

“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.

The Non-Aligned Movement is comprised of states which do not consider themselves aligned formally with any major power bloc. The group was founded in 1961 as a stand against cold war power struggles and meets every three years.

Outside the summit, Iran displayed three cars damaged by bomb blasts, which Iran suggests were orchestrated by Britain, the U.S. and Israel, that resulted in the deaths of five Iranian scientists, including nuclear experts.

Iran called on Non-Aligned Movement leaders to take a stand against Western sanctions, and once again insisted that it's nuclear program was solely for energy purposes.

"Regarding our peaceful nuclear program... we have always said that we are only seeking our legitimate rights" to nuclear energy as permitted under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Salehi said.

"The NAM... should seriously confront unilateral sanctions of certain nations against some members of the NAM," Salehi said in a speech opening days of preparatory meetings for the summit on Thursday and Friday.

Iran says its hosting of the summit is evidence it is not as internationally isolated as the US and Israel portray.

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