Tight security measures have been put in place in Tehran, the Iranian capital, ahead of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit that is seen by Iran’s leadership as a diplomatic success countering Western pressure over the country's disputed nuclear program.
Street art and graffiti of both political and purely aesthetic nature have been repainted by painters employed by Tehran's mayoralty. Other security measures are also planned to assure the safety of visiting diplomats and officials.
“Security forces and police officers are seen at every corner in the main streets,” a middle-aged woman, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Your Middle East.
According to Ahmad Reza Radan, Deputy Commander of the Iranian police, around 110.000 policemen have been mobilized and stand on full alert to maintain security and discipline.
Government offices, except news agencies and newspaper bureaus, will be temporarily closed in Tehran during the 16th summit of this 120-member organization, since a five-day public holiday was previously announced in order to reduce traffic and air pollution.
The NAM summit will be held August 26-31; 50 heads of state including 27 presidents, 2 kings, 7 prime ministers and 9 vice presidents are expected to be among the attendees.
By taking over the presidency from Egypt, the Islamic state is seeking support for its nuclear program as well as finding a solution to regional conflicts, in particular the one raging in neighbouring Syria. The expansion of economic ties between the member states is due to be high on the agenda.
In an interview with ISNA news agency, Mustafa Malakootian, a political analyst said Iran's hosting of the NAM summit, which is the biggest global organization behind the UN, rejects Western claims that they are representing the international community.
Hosting its biggest international summit in over a decade, Iran has allowed reporters of major news channels and foreign newspapers to cover the summit from inside the country. “More than 340 foreign journalists and 110 media outlets from 42 countries will cover the meeting,” said the head of the foreign press department of Iran's ministry of culture and Islamic guidance to the semi-official Fars news agency.