Egypt condemns 'oppressive' Syria
Egypt's president and the UN general secretary and delivered stinging speeches at a summit of developing nations in Iran today that damaged the host country's quest for global prestige and support for its nuclear programme and its policy on Syria.
Syria's foreign minister said he walked out of the Non-Aligned Movement meeting in Tehran today to protest comments made by Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.
Mr Morsi told a gathering of non-aligned nations hosted by Syrian ally Iran that Bashar al-Assad's regime was "oppressive" and had "lost its legitimacy."
The comments were "very bad," Walid Al- Muallem said in an interview in Tehran. He said Syria would respond tomorrow when it address the forum.
"The bloodshed in Syria is our responsibility on all our shoulders and we have to know that the bloodshed cannot stop without effective interference from all of us," Mr Morsi said.
"We all have to announce our full solidarity with the struggle of those seeking freedom and justice in Syria, and translate this sympathy into a clear political vision that supports a peaceful transition to a democratic system of rule that reflects the demands of the Syrian people for freedom," he said.
Mr Morsi said the bloodshed would only end if there were "effective interference from all of us". He appeared to be referring to diplomatic efforts, given that he has repeatedly ruled out any military intervention in Syria.
His words prompted Syrian delegates to leave the hall. The Syrian foreign minister said the delegation withdrew "in rejection of the incitement in the speech to continue the shedding of Syrian blood", and it returned after Mr Morsi's address was over, Syrian state television reported.
At the same event, the Iranians had to listen while Ban Ki-moon denounced them for calling for Israel's destruction and denying the Holocaust.
"I strongly reject threats by any member state to destroy another or outrageous attempts to deny historical facts such as the Holocaust," Mr Ban said in his speech, without naming Iran.
"Claiming that Israel does not have the right to exist or describing it in racist terms is not only wrong but undermines the very principle we all have pledged to uphold," he added.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and this month described Israel as a "cancerous tumour". In 2005 he was quoted as saying Israel should be "wiped off the map" - words that Persian language scholars say should have been rendered: "Israel must vanish from the page of time."
Iran has portrayed its hosting of the high-profile summit as proof that Western efforts to isolate it and punish it economically for its disputed nuclear programme have failed.
"Our motto is nuclear energy for all and nuclear weapons for none," Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told the assembled heads of state, a day after Mr Ban urged him to take action to prove Iran's nuclear work is peaceful.
The West suspects Iran is covertly seeking a nuclear weapons capability, an accusation Tehran denies. In his speech, Mr Khamenei criticised the UN security council as an illogical, unjust and defunct relic of the past used by the United States "to impose its bullying manner on the world".
"They [Americans] talk of human rights when what they mean is Western interests. They talk of democracy when what they have is military intervention in other countries," he declared.
Mr Khamenei did not mention the conflict in Syria or Iran's staunch support for Dr Assad, who is struggling to crush a 17-month uprising in which more than 18,000 people have been killed.