The 120-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) has unanimously endorsed Iran’s civilian nuclear energy program, saying Iran has not only the right to produce energy through nuclear fission, but has a right to enrich their own uranium to do so. This statement, part of the “Tehran Declaration,” released after the 2012 Tehran summit stands in sharp contrast to Western positions on the matter, which have regularly claimed Iran was violating international norms by enriching their own uranium for civilian purposes. The Non-Aligned Movement’s principled stand is to support the basic and inalienable right of all states to develop research, production and use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, without any discrimination and in conformity with their respective legal obligations.
Iran’s relations with the West underwent a drastic deterioration as the country developed its nuclear program. The West regarded Iran as a threat to the region, and tried to persuade it to abandon its nuclear operations. However, Iran has consistently claimed that its nuclear operations are being carried out for peaceful means. The tension between the West and Iran reached its peak during Ahmadinejad’s presidency. With harsh statements against the US and Israel, Ahmadinejad at various points brought the parties to the threshold of war. Bilateral tensions were reduced and harsh statements were replaced with mutual goodwill with the election of Hasan Rouhani as the new President in August 2013. As a result, a 6-month interim deal on Iran’s nuclear program was signed between Iran and the G5+1 countries (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) in Geneva. According to the deal, Iran was to suspend its nuclear programme to a significant extent, dispose of its 20% enriched uranium, and resume uranium enrichment activities only at a rate of 5%. In return, the international community would reduce the sanctions around $7 billion.
NAM members have reiterated support for a nuclear deal between Tehran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, US, Britain, France, and Germany) and said it can contribute to the peaceful settlement of Iran’s nuclear issue. In December 2015, Iran’s Ambassador to the IAEA Reza Najafi read the statement on behalf of NAM – whose rotating presidency is held by Iran at Vienna. In the official statement NAM reiterated its principled position that diplomacy and dialogue are the only way for a long term solution of Iran’s nuclear issues and encouraged all Member States to contribute positively to that effect. NAM further voiced support for Resolution 2231 that the United Nations Security Council passed to endorse the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), calling on the IAEA Board of Governors to make a similar move and nullify its previous anti-Iran resolutions.
Speaking on behalf of NAM, the Iranian leader welcomed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed between the Islamic Republic of Iran and EU3+3 in Vienna on 14 July 2015 (INFCIRC/887) and reaffirmed the belief of the movement that it would contribute to a peaceful solution to Iran’s nuclear issue. The Iranian ambassador to NAM further noted that the Agency has an essential role to play in Verification and Monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in relation to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and therefore supported the Agency’s role in this regard.
In his statement, NAM Ambassador to the IAEA stressed the importance of all relevant participants faithfully honoring their relevant undertakings and respective commitments under the JCPOA and reiterated the position of NAM that the activities in the Road-map for clarification of past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program were implemented in accordance with the agreed schedule.
The pronouncements by Iran’s Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency Reza Najafi in the Bard of Governors’ meeting are an extension of the principled position of the Non-Aligned Movement the only way to resolve the Iran’s nuclear issue is to pursue substantive negotiations without any preconditions among all relevant parties.