Tehran: Iran has created a new category of martyrs - nuclear scientists it says were killed by Israelis. And what better way to unveil this than at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit.
In the driveway leading to the media centre are the mangled remains of three cars, mounted on makeshift stands. Iran accuses Israel of blowing them up to assassinate three scientists to derail its nuclear programme.
The scientists, Masouud Ali Mohamaddi, Majid Sheriyari and Mustafa Ahmedi, were killed Jan 12, 2010, Dec 29, 2011 and Jan 11, 2012, say banners attached to the stands. In two of the cases, the people arrested for the bombings confessed they had acted at the behest of the Israeli secret service Mossad.
"Where are you from?" asked a bystander as he spotted a small group outside a hotel in downtown Tehran. What perhaps made him stop was that three women in the group wore colourful tops - against the regulation black that nine out of 10 Iranian women wear.
"We`re from India," was the reply. Immediately came the counter: "What are you doing here?"
"We`re here to report on the Non-Aligned Movement," said the journalist.
"What`s non-alignment?" was the next question. Another question came up equally fast: "Is China attending?"
At which stage, a liason officer with the Indian group uttered a few rapid fire words and the questioner scurried off with his head held down.
No Syria reference at opener
Many said Iran would - and an equally large number said Iran won`t. The big question was whether Iran would move a resolution on the situation in Syria at the Non-Aligned Movement Summit.
This would upset the reference to the issue in the final declaration that had been agreed on two months ago. By Wednesday night, it was understood that Iran wouldn`t rock the boat.
But halfway into the inaugural Thursday, many began to squirm in their seats and many fingers were crossed as Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei thundered fire and brimstone against America and its allies, particularly Israel, for trying to police the region.
In the end, the moment passed and the address ended without as much as a reference to Syria, although the ayatollah had a lot to say about the plight of the Palestinians.