TEHRAN — Iran opened a world gathering of self-described nonaligned nations Sunday with a slap at the UN Security Council and an appeal to rid the world of nuclear weapons, even as Tehran faces Western suspicions that it is seeking its own atomic bombs.
Iran seeks to use the weeklong gathering — capped by a two-day summit of Non-Aligned Movement leaders — as a showcase of its global ties and efforts to challenge the influence of the West and its allies. Among those expected to attend include UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the prime minister of India, Manmohan Singh, whose nation remains an important Iranian oil customer as Tehran battles Western sanctions over its nuclear program.
The 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement, a holdover from the Cold War’s pull between East and West, is also viewed by Iran and others as an alternative forum for current world discussions. Iran says it plans talks on a peace plan to end the conflict in Syria, but no rebel factions will attend because of Tehran’s close ties to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi of Iran opened the gathering by noting a commitment to a past goal of the nonaligned group, called NAM, to remove the world’s nuclear arsenals within 13 years.
‘‘We believe that the timetable for ultimate removal of nuclear weapons by 2025, which was proposed by NAM, will only be realized if we follow it up decisively,’’ he told delegates.
Iran insists it does not seek nuclear weapons. The United States and its allies suspect that Tehran’s uranium enrichment could eventually lead to warhead-level material. They have imposed sanctions on Iran’s banking and oil exports in attempt to wring concessions.
Israel has said that it would weigh military options if diplomacy and economic pressure fail to curb Iran’s nuclear goals.
Salehi criticized Israel for remaining outside the United Nations’ main treaty on the spread of nuclear technology. Israel refused to discuss the full range of its military capabilities, but it is widely thought to have a nuclear arsenal.
Iran ally North Korea has withdrawn from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun of North Korea arrived in Tehran on Sunday for the meetings.
Outside the meeting site, Iran displayed three cars damaged by bomb blasts that Iran has blamed on agents from Britain and the United States. At least five members of the Iranian scientific community, including nuclear experts, have been killed since 2010 in a suspected covert war with its foes.
Iran and its proxies, in turn, have been linked by investigators to attacks and plots on Israeli targets around the world.
Salehi also complained about the perception of the ‘‘falling’’ clout of the UN’s general membership at the expense of the ‘‘rising power of the UN Security Council,’’ led by permanent members the United States, Britain, France, Russia, and China.
Even before the first session got underway, however, a dispute flared about Palestinian envoys.
Iran said a political leader of Tehran’s ally Hamas had not been invited to the summit, contradicting Hamas claims Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was asked to come by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Hamas said on Sunday that Haniyeh has canceled plans to attend.