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News Analysis: Iran aims to gain support at NAM summit

(Xinhua)

17:27, August 28, 2012

TEHRAN, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Iran would host a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) starting Thursday, with an aim to bolster its influence in the Middle East and win support from NAM members over the Syria crisis and its nuclear issue.

Drained by bouts of sanctions over its nuclear program, Tehran is eager to expand its international influence and squeeze some breathing room out of the current stalemate. The upcoming summit is a hard-won opportunity, analysts here say.

An option is to sketch out a peace plan at the summit to help end the 17-month-long Syria crisis and drum up support for the Syrian administration, as a close alliance with Damascus matters a lot to Tehran.

Being two eyesores of the United States in the Middle East, Iran and Syria have built tight ties as close as lips and teeth.

Flanked by the Syrian government, Iran aims to counter-balance some of the pressures imposed by Western countries over its nuclear program and expand its political clout in the region.

Washington would be spared more time to churn out further rounds of sanctions against Iran, should the Syrian government be toppled.

Therefore, Iran has to make every effort to help resolve the Syria crisis and keep the Syrian government in power. Over past months, Iran has expressed in different occasions the willingness to mediate between the Syrian government and the opposition, in the hope of putting an end to the crisis.

On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Iran would lay out a "comprehensive" proposal to resolve the Syria crisis and it would be discussed on the sidelines of the 16th NAM meeting.

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