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Iran's charm offensive at NAM summit thwarted by Syria, nuclear work

Iran's effort to prove that international isolation efforts have failed was undermined by discord with the UN and Egypt over its nuclear work and continued support for Syria's President Assad.

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Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, August 30.

Hamid Forootan/ISNA/REUTERS

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Iran's bid to break free of US-led efforts to isolate it took form today as Iranian leaders convened a two-day summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Tehran.

With United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and dozens of world leaders and government ministers in attendance, Iran's supreme religious leader rejected use of nuclear weapons as an "unforgivable sin" and lambasted the US, Western powers, Israel, and the "spread of the instruments of hegemony."

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told the conference that the UN Security Council – which has imposed four sets of sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program – had an "illogical, unjust, and completely undemocratic structure and mechanism," which is a "flagrant form of dictatorship ... whose expiration date has passed." 

He also noted that decades ago, Iran was the first to propose a nuclear-free Middle East, and said, according to an official translation: "Nuclear weapons neither ensure security, nor do they consolidate political power, rather they are a threat to both security and political power."

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