The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is an all-encompassing movement which was established in 1961 at the height of the Cold War through the efforts of leaders like Nehru of India, Sukarno of Malaysia, Jamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt and general Tito of the former Yugoslavia with the aim of achieving unity among countries not belonging to the communism or capitalism camps.
With the end of the Cold War, NAM continued its work and, with the gradual joining of most developing countries, its members grew. At the moment it has 120 members, including 53 African, 40 Asian, 26 Latin American and one European country.
Unlike regional organizations such as the European Union, the Shanghai treaty and the African Union, it is natural that an international organization with this number of members stretched all over the world, can be a very important organization. From economic and strategic points of view, most NAM members are effective international players whose association within an all-encompassing international organization is important.
On the other hand, NAM members form three quarters of UN members and, taking into consideration the solidarity existing within NAM, the degree of its effectiveness is considerable. For instance, one can refer to the traditional NAM position in support of the peaceful nuclear activities of Iran in international organizations such as the UN General Assembly and the IAEA.
Surely such support has had and will have enormous effects on informing public opinion and creating a suitable atmosphere in support of Iran in the world. The West and the US continuously attempt to follow their policies under the title "international community" and, in this atmosphere, the support of 120 NAM members for peaceful nuclear activities has the explicit and open message that, despite sensationalism of a few Western countries, the international community supports these activities and opposes the unilateral policies of the West.
The Summit meeting, which takes place in one of the member states every three years, is the highest pillar of NAM. In 2009, during the fifteenth NAM summit in Egypt, it was decided that the next Summit be held in Iran. Accordingly, the sixteenth summit will be held in Tehran from 26 to 31 August 2012.
This summit is important because it is held in the most independent country of the Movement. It is natural that the host has a determining role in the decisions of the meeting and, as seen during the OIC Summit in 1997 which entered a specific direction with the speech of the Supreme Leader, Iran's presidency over the meeting will undoubtedly have a great effect on defining the NAM roadmap. Today, the world's conditions have changed as it has entered a different stage.
Taking into account the current world situation, NAM should take steps in the direction of reforming the world order, disarmament, international peace and security, Islamic awakening, sustainable development and strengthening NAM's place in the balance of power. These objectives will undoubtedly be more reachable with Iran's presidency over the summit. After more than sixty years since the inception of the Movement, NAM's main ideals are still alive; ideals such as freedom from colonialism, independence and non-alignment to power centers and enhancement of solidarity and integration among member countries and emphasis on indigenous progress. The Tehran Summit can take a big step towards realizing these objectives.