* Ban Ki-moon decries call for destruction of Israel
* Mursi urges NAM support for foes of Iran's ally Assad
* Iran sees summit as proof isolation, sanctions have failed
By Marcus George and Yeganeh Torbati
DUBAI, Aug 30 The U.N. chief and Egypt's
president delivered stinging speeches at a summit of developing
nations in Iran on Thursday, damaging the host country's quest
for global prestige and support for its nuclear programme and
its policy on Syria.
The Iranians had to listen while Ban Ki-moon denounced them
for calling for Israel's destruction and denying the Holocaust.
Nor did Mohamed Mursi, the first Egyptian leader to visit
Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution, hold back as he urged
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) members to back Syrians trying to
topple President Bashar al-Assad, Tehran's closest Arab ally.
The United States and Israel had frowned on the decisions by
Ban and Mursi to attend the summit.
"I strongly reject threats by any member state to destroy
another or outrageous attempts to deny historical facts such as
the Holocaust," Ban said in his speech, without naming Iran.
"Claiming that Israel does not have the right to exist or
describing it in racist terms is not only wrong but undermines
the very principle we all have pledged to uphold," he said.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly has denied
the Holocaust and this month called Israel a "cancerous tumour".
Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Ban would
have conveyed a stronger message by boycotting the NAM summit.
"His going there harmed the message and really sabotaged the
efforts, which are so critical today, to stop the illegal
Iranian nuclear activity," Ayalon told Israel Radio.
However, Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-Israeli expert at the
Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, said Mursi and Ban
deserved credit for their blunt remarks in Tehran.
"Mursi's statement on Syria will be viewed as a serious
challenge against Iran's narrative on Syria," he said, adding
that Israel should thank Ban for speaking out so clearly.
"In the history of the Islamic Republic, nobody has
challenged the supreme leader's (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's)
position on Israel in front of him, and in such a manner. This
is likely to have long-term reverberations and consequences
inside Iran's halls of power."
In his speech, Khamenei criticised the U.N. Security Council
as a tool used by the United States "to impose its bullying
manner on the world".
"They (Americans) talk of human rights when what they mean
is Western interests. They talk of democracy when what they have
is military intervention in other countries," he declared.
Khamenei did not mention the conflict in Syria or Iran's
staunch support for Assad, who is struggling to crush a 17-month
uprising in which more than 18,000 people have been killed.
Mursi, a moderate Egyptian Islamist, said solidarity with
the Syrian people "against an oppressive regime that has lost
its legitimacy is an ethical duty" and a strategic necessity.
"We all have to announce our full solidarity with the
struggle of those seeking freedom and justice in Syria, and
translate this sympathy into a clear political vision that
supports a peaceful transition to a democratic system of rule
that reflects the demands of the Syrian people for freedom."
His words prompted Syrian delegates to leave the hall.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said the delegation
withdrew "in rejection of the incitement in the speech to
continue the shedding of Syrian blood", and returned after
Mursi's address was over, Syrian state television reported.
Iran has portrayed its hosting of the high-profile summit as
proof that Western efforts to isolate it and punish it
economically for its disputed nuclear programme have failed.
"Our motto is nuclear energy for all and nuclear weapons for
none," Khamenei told the conference, a day after Ban urged him
to prove that Iran's nuclear work is peaceful.
His words will do little to allay Western suspicions that
Iran is covertly seeking a nuclear weapons capability.
A report from the U.N. nuclear watchdog this week is likely
to voice concern about the Parchin military complex southeast of
Tehran, to which its inspectors have been denied access.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) believes Iran
has conducted nuclear-related explosives tests at Parchin.
Western diplomats say satellite images suggest Iran has cleansed
the site, which it says is a conventional military facility.
The IAEA's new quarterly report will say Iran has installed
more than 300 new uranium enrichment centrifuges at its Fordow
underground site since May, Vienna-based diplomats say.
Iran is using Fordow to enrich uranium to 20 percent fissile
purity, taking it much nearer the 90 percent needed for bombs.
Tehran says the material is for a medical research reactor.
"There is reason to be concerned by increased tempo of
enrichment, the larger stockpile of enriched uranium and, most
importantly, the additional centrifuges installed in the
deeply-buried facility at Fordow," said Mark Fitzpatrick of the
International Institute of Strategic Studies think-tank.
The NAM summit's final declaration on Friday is set to
express deep concern about the violence in Syria and support for
efforts by U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to broker a
resolution, a delegate at the meeting told Reuters.
Mursi's blunt remarks on Syria suggested there would be no
early restoration of Egyptian-Iranian diplomatic ties, which
broke down after the Iranian revolution over Egypt's support for
the overthrown Shah and over its peace agreement with Israel.
Ahmadinejad held separate talks with Mursi in what Iran's
Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian described as a
"friendly atmosphere", Iranian state television reported.
"Egypt also considers Iran as its strategic partner and
everyone should look to the future to create good conditions for
regional developments," the state news agency, IRNA, reported
Mursi as saying.
Mursi left Iran after the 40-minute meeting, the
highest-level contact between the two countries in more than 30
Amir-Abdollahian said Iran and Egypt shared the same
approach to a resolution of the Syria conflict, arguing that
they both emphasised a peaceful solution, prevention of foreign
interference, rejection of violence and support for dialogue.
"From the beginning, Iran has supported Mursi's plan," he
said, referring to the Egyptian leader's proposal for a contact
group on Syria comprising Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabi and Turkey.
Shadi Hamid, of the Brookings Center in Doha, said Mursi,
who has promised a "balanced" foreign policy, had signalled by
going to Tehran that he would not be as closely aligned with the
United States as his ousted predecessor Hosni Mubarak.
But his speech showed "he is not going to indulge the
Iranians even when he sitting right next to them", Shadi said.