Unlike the eastern and western blocs what brings these countries close to each other is neither military unity nor political and economic solidarity but resistance against the influence of big powers which threaten their political independence and also efforts for removing political and economic colonialism and support for liberation-seeking and anti-colonialist movements.
In other words, what gathers these countries together is mainly based on negating domineering powers’ threats. At Bandung conference, two fronts had been created consisting of different countries; the first followed India and Indonesia and supported anti-colonialism whereas the second consisted of countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Iraq opposing communism. Finally Nehru's efforts led to the unity of the two fronts against colonialism and exploitation of eastern or western type. In this way, the NAM was initiated in Bandung in 1955 and materialized in Belgrade in the form of a broad-base current comprised of the so-called third world countries.
Like other movements, the NAM has been affected by the personality of leaders of some countries. The then Yugoslavian leader Marshal Tito, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Egyptian President Jamal Abdul-Nasser and Indonesian President Ahmad Sukarno were the figures impacting this newly founded global body. All these 4 countries had experienced a tough period of colonization and their campaigns for non-alignment and independence were appropriate and rightful.
Leaders of the 4 countries were among the heads of state who had just come to power after their countries had got rid of colonialism. They not only took part in anti-colonialist and anti-Imperialist wars but they led wars.
The years 1950-1955 made a turning point for all the 4 countries in political campaigns.
Therefore, things like mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, decrease in tension and existing differences in the international relations resulting from partition of the world into eastern and western bloc, opposition to participation in military unions and refraining from offering military bases to the blocs, support for the UN Charter and the need for disarmament through global supervisions can be mentioned as the most important principles of the Non-Aligned Movement.
In view of this the concept of non-alignment is an emphasis on the rights of nations and materialization of peace and security through participation in resolving international issues.
Indeed, the hostile rivalry between the so-called super powers; that is, the US and the Soviet Union placed many nations of Europe, Asia, Africa and even in the UN face to face. Due to this rivalry, two political and military blocs were formed, one in the east led by Moscow and one in the West led by Washington. In this way the world fell into in a cold war followed by grave consequences. Meanwhile the lack of an independent policy based on peaceful co-existence and a heterogeneous form of systems on the international arena hindered the adoption of any stance against the will of the big powers. This world problem never permitted the movement to show off especially in the cold war era.
This political deterrence was practically considered as a weakness in political equations and thus NAM failed to play a prominent role in peaceful settlement of disputes through international rights. Meanwhile, lack of a sufficient capacity for turning into an international body and the weak performance of the movement over the past half a century challenged the NAM efficiency in global decision-making.
Once the Non-Aligned Movement is put in the center of the world strategic developments, it has the potential and capacity for active and effective participation in the global equations and can play a constructive role on the international scene.
Having passed the ups and downs of the past, the NAM has now entered another sensitive stage which can regain its real role with regard to current developments.
Therefore, over half a century after the formation of the NAM, the founders of NAM and their later substitutes believed that in view of geographical and ideological diversity of the members the movement would probably disintegrate if official structures like a statute and internal secretariat are not shaped; for, a transnational organization consisting of countries with various goals and ideologies will never be able to create a logical and administrative structure for implementing the policies agreed by the members.
For this reason, a unique administrative structure took shape in the movement. On this basis, the NAM does not have an approved hierarchical structure and all members have the chance to take part in decision-making and international policy-making.
The NAM summit is a good opportunity for the movement to hold a meeting at the highest level.
Iran has already presented at the NAM foreign ministerial meeting the practical solutions for a joint cooperation in gaining access to the high ideals of the world nations like peace, security, development and progress. These issues include important topics like banning insult to religions, countering sanctions and bullying measures, struggle against western cultural dominance, reforms in the UN and support for membership of at least one representative of the NAM in the UN Security Council.
Tackling crimes, condemning bullying powers' charges against the NAM members and fighting terrorism and narcotics are among other issues stressed by Iran in the movement.
Tehran's views can be considered progressive and prudent views for the NAM objectives which are a basis for arranging its program; actually implementation of this program illustrates the forward move and the movement's upgrading role.
Now the question is that ‘to what extent is implementation of these proposals possible for the NAM?’
Iran’s presence in the NAM has always been dynamic and noteworthy.
Issues like Palestine, opposition to anti-religious and racial trend, demand for opening the market of north countries toward south countries are among Iran's efforts within NAM framework.
Reciprocally the NAM has been active in supporting Iran's nuclear rights in the International Atomic Energy Agency. At the meetings of the IAEA board of governors which were held to look into Iran's nuclear activities, the movement has frequently called on the council to precisely study the arms situation of all member states away from political pressures, although some of the member states do not consider themselves committed to follow NAM principles and statements.
The stance of the Islamic Republic of Iran announced in the speeches of Iranian officials at the NAM summits has been focused on demand for upgrading the movement's global role with the aim of materializing equality of rights on the international arena. Obtaining the right of progress and development manifested in gaining access to nuclear peaceful science are not separable of these principles.
The host country takes over the movement's presidency and the relative responsibilities including effort for upgrading NAM status for three years till the next summit.
The administrative structure is also transferred to the host country and this duty is usually carried out by the country's foreign ministry. Moreover, since the leaders of the NAM members meet regularly at the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly, the permanent envoy of the chairing country acts as the minister of the NAM affairs.
In order to facilitate the responsibilities of the NAM presidency, a number of structures with the goal of upgrading coordination among members have been created. These include working groups, contact groups, special committees and other non-aligned committees.
The previous NAM summit was held in July 2009, in Sharm-Al-Sheikh of Egypt.
In view of the current developments and the need for strengthening the movement on the basis of peace, stability, and security, analysts consider upgrading the global role of the NAM as essential on the international arena. Realization of this goal needs a review in the NAM principles to complete its basics.
Inattention to political capacities of the NAM as the representative of the majority of Islamic states is one of the considerable weaknesses reminded by the Islamic Republic.
As a matter of fact, the Non-Aligned Movement is the second largest international body after the UN and can act as an appropriate basis for pushing forward the members' goals. Of course this movement lacks the required structure; thus it does not have a permanent secretariat; but just a temporary one in New York.
What is certain is that the NAM consists of 120 countries over 60 percent of which are UN members. Therefore, the movement's decision-makings are important and the existence of such a movement is very significant for the world peace.
According to observers, the movement can have an effective role in world developments but one should acknowledge that the NAM faces certain challenges to solidify its role in the world.
These challenges stem form the internal structure of the movement. First, the members do not have economic or political similarities. Second, the NAM members lack a strong joint will. They have different political interests; whereas after the UN, NAM is the biggest international organization and it can pave the ground for pushing forward the objectives of its members.