AsiaIsrael news photo: illustrative

Iranian leaders, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, reiterate their calls for a union of Asian countries.

Ahmadinejad, speaking earlier this week in Tehran at the ninth ministerial meeting of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), called for convergence of all Asian countries. He said at the opening ceremony that Asia is in need of convergence in order to “implement its determining responsibility in the world,” which he said is “urgently in need of a change in terms of order and conduct.”  

In addition, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said this week that his government hopes all Asian countries support the idea of the formation of the Asian Union.

Mottaki said Asia should move in the direction of further convergence, Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported. “The other continents have unions for themselves,” he said, "and Asia, as the most populous continent in the world with the most significant role in the world's economy, should form a union as well.”

Iran has directed the ACD for the past year, and has used this position to work towards achieving Asian unity.

The ACD, created in 2002, was created to promote Asian cooperation on the continental level. It seeks to integrate some of Asia’s various regional cooperation organizations including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN, ten countries), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC, eight nations), and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, involving the six Arab states of the Persian Gulf.

Of Asia’s 51 countries (some list 44), about half are Muslim. The continent is the most populous in the world, with over four billion people and more than 60% of the world’s population. It covers 8.6% of the Earth's total surface area, and 29.9% of its land area.

Ahmadinejad gave a fairly aggressive television interview in Iran today, saying that the P5+1 -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the Germany– should accept Iran’s latest nuclear program positions. "Iran is a big country and the Iranians are a very strong nation but they [the Western countries] are so proud and self-centered that they do not want to accept this issue," he stated. 

He further said Iran believes that its nuclear case has been closed, adding, "Moves by enemies have no impact on the nuclear issue. They are mistaken… Iran has turned into an international power due to its resistance against enemies.”