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Wednesday, 30 January 2008 - Brussels OJ edition

Situation in Iran (debate)

  Angelika Beer, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – (DE) Mr President, may I begin by thanking both Mr Solana and Mrs Ferrero-Waldner for making such thorough preparations for the visit and for engaging in consultation and dialogue with us both beforehand and afterwards.

I would like to point out – and let there be no mistake about this – that this debate will be heard in Iran. It is an enlightened and pluralist society that tries to obtain the information it needs, and we are supporting that quest by means of the Farsi television news service. We know that the leaders of the Ahmadinejad regime will be following this debate, which is why it is right and proper to say clearly to President Ahmadinejad and his supporters that the host of candidates for the 296 parliamentary seats – there are more than 7 000, of whom 2 000 are apparently being excluded – is a sure sign to us that he has his back to the wall in domestic politics. Our solidarity belongs to civil society, to women, to trade unions and to all those who are under threat and whose names were read out to us a few moments ago.


There is also a second reason why we wanted today’s debate, for which I am truly grateful. Iran is at an impasse. It has run into a brick wall and no longer knows how to progress; it is in no position to make offers. At the same time, however, I wonder whether we Europeans have really played all our cards yet. The finding of our cross-party visit to Iran is that we must find our own way of negotiating, and that can only be done without prior conditions, without holding a knife to anyone’s throat.

One thing I understood very clearly from all the people whom we were able to meet and who are in need of our support is that sanctions weaken civil society and strengthen President Ahmadinejad. For this reason, carrying on as before is not a political option and will not resolve the deadlock.

Let me therefore conclude by saying that we do not want nuclear weapons in any country whatsoever. For my part, I want no nuclear energy at all, but if it is President Sarkozy’s policy to conclude nuclear-energy contracts right, left and centre without any safeguards such as non-proliferation agreements, Europe’s foreign policy will become a proliferation factor instead of helping to stem the tide.


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