Iran goes all out to make NAM Summit a success
Tehran: Iran has pulled out all stops to ensure a smooth sail of the 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit that will see a number of world leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh coming together, despite the US making its displeasure clear over the gathering here.
From heavy deployment of security, freshly coated railings along the roads to declaring a holiday and strategically putting out banners, Tehran is trying its best to project the summit as a major diplomatic win for the sanction-hit country.
The first thing that strikes a visitor to Tehran is the wide smooth highway on which one can easily hit over 150 kms per hour.
The landscaping too is beautiful. As you drive down, one will find a number of posters -- some of them asserting the country's right to nuclear energy.
'Nuclear energy is an undeniable right for Iranians', reads a banner with the picture of an Iranian nuclear scientist who was killed in a car bomb allegedly by Israel's spy agency Mossad.
Drive further, another banner on top of a flyover reads, 'Avoid being enslaved since God created you free'.
Tehran, which could easily have more flyovers than new Delhi or Mumbai, is largely traffic free with the government declaring holidays to ease congestion on roads. The Iranian capital is known to have one of the worst traffic.
"They have declared holidays for the Summit so that there will be less traffic on the road," a friendly official chips in.
Police checkposts have suddenly sprung up on the city roads. An outsider is quickly identified and sharp eyes of the securitymen follow as you walk down.
Interestingly, Iran had displayed blast-shredded cars of Iranian nuclear scientist at the entrance to the venue here where the officials from 120 NAM-member states met.
Five Iranian nuclear scientists, including a manager at the Natanz enrichment facility, have been killed since 2010.
Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a chemistry expert and director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, became the latest victim when he was killed in a bomb attack in January 2012.
For Iran, the Summit is very important and the country that has been hit by severe US sanctions is trying to fully exploit the occasion.
Iranian Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amirabdollahian has said that the holding of the Summit in Tehran proves inefficiency of US threats and sanctions against Iran.