* Ban Ki-moon decries call for destruction of Israel
* Mursi urges support for foes of Iran's ally Assad
* Iran sees NAM summit as proof isolation has failed
By Marcus George and Yeganeh Torbati
DUBAI, Aug 30 The U.N. chief and Egypt's
president delivered stinging speeches at a summit of developing
nations in Iran on Thursday, damaging the host country's quest
for global prestige and support for its nuclear programme and
its policy on Syria.
The Iranians had to listen while Ban Ki-moon denounced them
for calling for Israel's destruction and denying the Holocaust.
Nor did Mohamed Mursi, the first Egyptian leader to visit
Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution, mince his words as he
urged Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) members to back Syrians trying
to topple President Bashar al-Assad, Tehran's closest Arab ally.
The United States and Israel had frowned on the decisions by
Ban and Mursi to attend the summit but they can only have been
pleased with the discomfort the two men caused their hosts.
"I strongly reject threats by any member state to destroy
another or outrageous attempts to deny historical facts such as
the Holocaust," 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 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, Khamenei criticised the U.N. 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.
Khamenei did not mention the conflict in Syria or Iran's
staunch support for Assad, who is struggling to crush a 17-month
uprising in which more than 18,000 people have been killed.
Mursi, a moderate Egyptian Islamist, said solidarity with
the Syrian people "against an oppressive regime that has lost
its legitimacy is an ethical duty" and a strategic necessity.
"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."
His words prompted Syrian delegates to leave the hall.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said the delegation
withdrew "in rejection of the incitement in the speech to
continue the shedding of Syrian blood", and returned after
Mursi's address was over, Syrian state television reported.
Mursi 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.
The NAM summit's final declaration is set to express deep
concern about the violence in Syria and support for efforts by
U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to broker a resolution to
the conflict, a delegate at the meeting told Reuters.
Mursi's blunt remarks on Syria suggested there would be no
early restoration of Egyptian-Iranian diplomatic ties, which
broke down after the Iranian revolution over Egypt's support for
the overthrown Shah and over its peace agreement with Israel.
Shadi Hamid, of the Brookings Center in Doha, said Mursi,
who has promised a "balanced" foreign policy, had signalled by
going to Tehran that he would not be as closely aligned with the
United States as his ousted predecessor Hosni Mubarak.
But his speech showed "he is not going to indulge the
Iranians even when he sitting right next to them", Shadi said.
The emir of Qatar, whose country is believed to be arming
Syrian rebels, called for a transfer of power in Syria through a
political agreement, Qatar's state news agency reported.