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Mugabe Pushing for Sanctions Removal at NAM Summit

President Robert Mugabe is in the Iranian capital, Tehran, joining leaders from about 120 countries at the politically charged 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit.

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei officially opened the summit Thursday attacking what he called the “overt dictatorship” of the United Nations Security Council.

Reports say Khamenei criticized the global agency after being told bluntly by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a closed meeting Wednesday that he was not open about the country’s nuclear program.

Other issues to be discussed at the summit, whose theme is “Sustainable Peace Under The Umbrella of World Management”, include the Syrian crisis, human rights and nuclear disarmament.

The Non-Aligned Movement, which meets after every three years, was formed in 1961 to counterbalance the dominance of the Soviet Union and the United States during the cold war. Harare hosted the summit in 1986.

Zimbabwe sources told Studio 7 that President Mugabe will be pushing NAM leaders to denounce sanctions imposed on him and his inner circle by the European Union and the United States.

Both the EU and Washington have called on Harare to institute democratic reforms such as a new constitution and holding free and fair elections as a precondition of lifting the sanctions.

But Zanu PF is stalling those reforms and calling for the unconditional lifting of sanctions.

The United States has denounced the NAM meeting as a non-event. There was drama at the summit when Egypt attacked the Syrian government - prompting the Syrian delegation to walk out of the meeting.

ZANU PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told Studio 7 NAM is still a vibrant movement.

But political analyst John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe said Mr. Mugabe is wasting tax payers money by attending meaningless summits.