Press TV has spoken to Kaveh Afrasiabi, a political commentator from Boston, to discuss the recent remarks by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the opening ceremony of the 17th NAM summit in Venezuela regarding terrorism.
The following is a rough transcription of the interview:
Press TV: You heard the Iranian president slamming governments for using terrorism as a political tool. Which governments do you think he is referring to that are utilizing this sinister practice?
Afrasiabi: It’s no secret that Saudi Arabia tops that list along with some of the lesser states in the Persian Gulf region and there’s plenty of record corroborating what President Rouhani, in his very fine speech, alluded to with respect to funding, financing and even arming these terrorist groups – some of them dressed as moderates who have very atrocious records of human rights abuse and crimes against humanity. Foreign Minister [Mohammad Javad] Zarif preceded President Rouhani in his way-elucidated op-ed piece in The New York Times just a few days ago about the threat of Wahhabism and how it nourishes radicalism and extremism – things that President Rouhani spoke against when he initiated the UN Assembly General resolution against extremism soon after he won the presidency. I thought that President Rouhani’s speech today in the context of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which is a very important progressive impulse in world politics, reaffirms again Iran’s very vital role against terrorism and the importance of global alliance in order to fight the menace of terrorism, particularly those that emanate from the Middle East and [are] funded by those states.
Press TV: President Rouhani said that NAM member states should unite against terrorism. Many say that NAM has the potential to be more effective as an organization. Because it doesn’t have the so-called superpowers manipulating their way around. Rather, it comprises of developing countries with a lot of shared interest. Your thoughts about NAM?
Afrasiabi: I have written a lot about NAM and I think that in the post-Cold War era, which is still an era in transition, NAM has a very vital role to play. It has proved that role through its various committees and subcommittees and coordinating bureau in New York. It’s a very large multifaceted organization, addressing issues of global peace, regional cooperation, non-proliferation, disarmament, the issue of Palestine and so on.
So, it has a full plate. Given the fact that it is a large body of some 120 nations plus so many observer states, it’s difficult to bring all these states to a unanimous consensus on various issues. But on the whole I would say that NAM receives B plus/A minus from me as a former professor, and it is definitely pivotal for the Third World and developing nations, and their role in global politics, which is unfortunately dominated by big power politics.