Iran General NewsIranian foreign minister visit sparks EU Parliament outcry -...

Iranian foreign minister visit sparks EU Parliament outcry – Summary


DPA: A visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki sparked an outcry Tuesday in the European Parliament in Brussels, with one lawmaker calling him “a murderer.”

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Brussels – A visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki sparked an outcry Tuesday in the European Parliament in Brussels, with one lawmaker calling him “a murderer.”

British conservative Struan Stevenson launched his verbal attack before Mottaki entered the foreign affairs committee for a closed-door hearing. He was holding a picture of Neda Agha Soltan, a student killed last year during demonstrations against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election.

A dozen centre-right deputies from Italy, Spain and Estonia took part in the protest, but all were unceremoniously pushed away by security to make space for Mottaki.

A brief tussle between EU lawmakers and the European Parliament’s guards ensued, but no injuries were reported.

Deputies and EU assembly officials who listened to Mottaki said he rejected all criticism of Iran’s human rights record and defended his country’s nuclear programme, which Western nations fear may be used for military purposes.

Alejo Vidal-Quadras, a Spanish EU deputy who was part of the anti-Mottaki demonstration, said “the first thing (Mottaki) did” was to criticise Israel for Monday’s attack on a flotilla defying the naval embargo on the Gaza Strip, which resulted in at least nine deaths.

“It was a shameful session,” Vidal-Quadras said.

A German liberal, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, told the German Press Agency dpa that Mottaki was blunt “to the point of being offensive, saying the EU did not have a foreign policy.”

The bloc has for years negotiated on behalf of the international community with Iran’s representatives, but never managed to strike a deal on the nuclear issue.

Emerging from the hearing after an hour and a half, Mottaki told journalists he had had “a frank and somewhat friendly discussion” and claimed it had been “in general a good meeting.”

Several EU deputies said he should not have been given a platform.

“It’s like inviting (Nazi Germany foreign minister Joachim von) Ribbentrop to the European Parliament, the man is a disgrace,” Stevenson told dpa.

But the president of the EU assembly’s foreign affairs committee, Italian centre-right politician Gabriele Albertini, defended the decision.

“The alternative is either to confront opinions that may be different from our own or to ignore them, and we are in a parliament that draws inspirations from the values of freedom of expression and democracy,” he said.

Mottaki came to Brussels against the backdrop of increased tensions in the Middle East due to Israel’s flotilla attack, while the United Nations Security Council is debating a resolution that strengthens sanctions against Tehran’s regime.

The European Parliament has no say in the EU’s foreign policy, but often serves as a forum for debate on international affairs.

Latest news

Iran’s Regime’s New Hijab Bill Seeks to Silence Women

On May 21, Ebrahim Raisi’s government approved and sent a bill on "Chastity and Hijab" to Iran’s Parliament (Majlis)....

Iranian Opposition Condemns Release of Tehran’s Convicted Diplomat-Terrorist Assadollah Assadi

The recent prisoner exchange between Belgium and Iran, announced by the government of Oman, has sparked strong condemnation from...

World leaders call on Biden to adopt new Iran policy

In a joint letter, 109 former world leaders signed a letter calling for accountability in Iran and urging U.S....

The Unsettling Child Marriage Epidemic Sweeping Iran

The horrific scene of a man holding the severed head of his 17-year-old wife, Mona Heydari, in southwest Iran,...

How Iran’s Housing Crisis Can Trigger More Protests

Renting a home in Iran has become nearly impossible for tenants who not only have buried their dream of...

Iran’s Budget Deficit Has Doubled

In the absence of statistics from Iran’s Central Bank and despite the government's false claims that the budget for...

Must read

Iran smuggling steel for nukes – exiles

Reuters: Iran has been using front companies to import...

Judiciary admits human rights violations in Iran

DPA: Iran’s conservative judiciary has for the first time...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you