Their speeches supported the Syrian rebels and criticized the Assad regime, embarrassing the Iranian hosts of Nonaligned meeting.
TEHRAN, IRAN - Iran's triumph in hosting the Nonaligned Movement summit meeting veered off script on Thursday when the two most prominently featured guest speakers, President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, denounced the repression of the armed uprising in Syria, a close Iranian ally.
Syria's foreign minister walked out in protest at Morsi's remarks at the meeting, the largest international conference in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iranian leaders have portrayed the gathering, attended by delegations from 120 countries, as a validation of Iran's importance in the world and a rejection of Western attempts to ostracize it.
Ban added further embarrassment to the Iranian hosts by publicly upbraiding them in his speech for threatening to annihilate Israel and for describing the Holocaust as a politically motivated myth.
"I strongly reject threats by any member state to destroy another or outrageous attempts to deny historical facts, such as the Holocaust," Ban said.
'Fighting with courage'
Morsi, Egypt's new Islamist president, whose decision to accept Iran's invitation to attend the meeting was considered a major victory by the Iranians, likened the uprising in Syria to the revolutions that swept away longtime leaders in North Africa like Morsi's own predecessor in Egypt, Hosni Mubarak.
"The Syrian people are fighting with courage, looking for freedom and human dignity," Morsi said, suggesting that all parties at the gathering shared responsibility for the bloodshed. "We must all be fully aware that this will not stop unless we act."
With Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sitting beside him, Morsi delivered a stinging rebuke of Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders have staunchly defended throughout the conflict.
"Our solidarity with the children of beloved Syria against an oppressive regime that has lost its legitimacy is a moral duty as much as a political and strategic necessity that stems from our belief in a coming future for the free proud Syria," Morsi said.
"And we must all offer our complete, undiminished support for the struggle for freedom and justice in Syria, and to translate our sympathy into a clear political vision that supports peaceful transition to a democratic government," he said.
Ban, in the Syria portion of his speech, aimed a clear rebuke at the Syrian government by saying that "the crisis in Syria started with peaceful demonstrations that were met by ruthless force. Now, we face the grim risk of long-term civil war destroying Syria's rich tapestry of communities."
While he urged all antagonists to stop the violence, Ban said "The Syrian government has the primary responsibility to resolve this crisis by genuinely listening to the people's voices."
Iran stands isolated in the Islamic world in its support for Assad, a status that became abundantly clear when it was the only nation to oppose the expelling of Syria as a member of the Organization of Islamic Countries on Aug. 14.
Local Iranian news media did not report the comments by Ban or Morsi, which strongly conflict with Iran's official line. A top military commander recently declared Assad's government the "winner" over the "U.S.- and Israel-backed terrorists."
Such remarks have made it increasingly complicated for more pragmatic Iranian politicians to offer alternative ideas when it comes to Syria, with state television stressing daily the line of no compromise.
Morsi joined Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who also spoke at the conference Thursday, in predicting the coming of a new world order in which the power of the West is fading as developing countries demand more influence.
In their separate speeches, Morsi and Khamenei both said the makeup of the U.N. Security Council, in which the five permanent members -- the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain -- can veto decisions, should be reformed.