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NAM Declaration Echoes Iranian Positions

In Havana, Cuba, the declaration released by the Non-Aligned Movement of 118 nations declared their support for Iran in its rift with the United States and Europe over its nuclear program. The influence of Iran in the NAM declaration can be seen as it calls for immediate negotiations “without preconditions,” a phrase Iran has used for months in their effort to negotiate without ceasing enrichment first.

The American position has maintained that negotiations cannot take place unless Iran halts their enrichment program. The UN Security Council resolution demanded such a halt by August 31. Nearly three weeks have passed since that date without consequence, confirming for many the diminished meaning and value of Security Council resolutions.

The NAM declaration also condemned the Israeli campaign against Hizballah in Lebanon and condemned terrorism, but left open a caveat: “…with exceptions for movements for self-determination and battles against foreign occupiers.” This implies the tacit acceptance of terrorism in Iraq, Israel, the Palestinian Territories and, for the moment, Lebanon. Each of these theaters has been tied to Iranian arms, financial support, training and/or Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps operators.

Following the NAM conference in Havana, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flew to Venezuela as the guest of staunch supporter Hugo Chavez, where the Iranian president praised him for his continued support for Iran and defiance of the United States. Chavez’s Venezuela is wrangling intensely for seat on UN Security Council, where it can best support its Iranian ally with a stint as one of the 10 non-permanent members. American UN Ambassador John Bolton is vehemently opposed to Venezuela’s membership, especially while Iran’s nuclear docket is being considered, preferring pro-American Guatemala.

Iran also seeks to solidify its position with the permanent members of the Security Council who have lent the Islamic Republic assistance and support in the past. Iran has announced another oil and gas field development agreement with China in the Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran. For American ally Japan, a 17-day deadline to reach an agreement was meted out by the Iranians for a separate oil field development plan within the same province. Though the fields are separate, the announcement of the Chinese deal the day after the Japanese deadline had passed was a psychological bonus handed to the Chinese over their Japanese adversaries.

This action exemplifies what we called the Iranian Wedge Formation as it continues to attempt to exploit cracks in the unity among America and her allies. At the same time, Iran is rewarding - as it can - those nations generally opposed to American policy, especially those who wield veto power at the UN Security Council, such as China and Russia.