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Wednesday, 16 November 2005 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Recent statements of the President of Iran, Mr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

  Angelika Beer, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. (DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, my group, that of the Greens, is also glad that we will be adopting a unanimous resolution whereby the European Parliament will make clear that anyone – whether an organisation or a state is immaterial – who questions the right of Israel to exist or preaches hatred of it will find no acceptance in this House, and that such attitudes are firmly rejected.

The Commission and the Council, too, have spelled out the serious problems that we face. President Ahmadinejad’s speeches make it clear that we Europeans can do nothing to stop a hatemonger mobilising thousands of people the length and breadth of his country; that is not our task, neither is it our field of activity, but I do nonetheless appeal to those in power in Iran to consider whether they might play a positive role in the international community by giving their backing to the right of both Palestine and Israel to exist, rather than allowing their President to make their rich country an international pariah.

Hence my appeal to the people of Europe and to this House: we must draw distinctions. Iran is a fascinating country with a young and well-educated society. There are also, in Iranian society, active women’s organisations that fight for women’s rights. Iran is also represented by such a man as Akbar Gandji, whose life is at risk because he refuses to submit to censorship. Iran is also a society full of webloggers and journalists attempting to remain in contact with us and to reveal the truth about their country’s regime. Iran is also the Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, who has addressed this House. Iran is also the lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani, whom we once invited to this House and who is now in jail.

It is to this other Iran, then, that we should try to stretch out a hand. We should not make the mistake of breaking off contacts with its civil society now, of shutting the door on it. That is precisely what people like President Ahmadinejad want us to do, and that is why we must not do it.

We have committed ourselves to human rights, to peace and to the peaceful resolution of conflicts. That is our way. That is only the dialogue ...

(The President cut off the speaker)

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