Saturday, December 19, 2009

We Are All Iranians

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Rooz Online English

In an exclusive interview with Rooz, the French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, discusses Europe’s preoccupations with the Ahmadinejad administration’s domestic and foreign policies. Kouchner addresses the Iranian authorities, saying: “The demonstrators are representing the majority of Iranians; the youth movement and the women’s movement; this is the heart and the most important part of the country.” Addressing the Iranian people, he emphasizes, “All the countries in the world are really attentive to what’s going on in your country. In a sense, we are all Iranians. We are all in favour of a peaceful, free and modern Iran.” He indicates: “The people demonstrating for freedom in the world must know that they can count on us.” Let’s begin with the typical question which exists in the minds of many Iranians. Would you insist on respecting human rights in Iran as much as you care about Islamic Republic’s nuclear program? It’s not a choice. Both are important. Let’s talk about human rights. We are concerned by the situation in Iran and the way the Iranian authorities reacted against the demonstrations after the election. As friends of Iran we are concerned, given the fact that people are demonstrating in the streets to protest against the results of the election because they believe that the authorities manipulated the results. Our preoccupation with human rights is not against Iran. We care about the general principle of free and fair elections, and of upholding the right to demonstrate peacefully without fear of prisoner prosecution, of torture or rape.

We are also concerned - not only us, but the whole international community - by Tehran’s nuclear program. Let me be clear about this: Iran has the right to have a civilian nuclear program. But we are preoccupied by the Iranian refusal to answer the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). And the questions the IAEA asked were simple. The international community’s anxiety is justified; we are worried about the possibility for Iran to develop nuclear weapons. This would be a threat for everyone. Middle East is already a very dangerous and explosive place; we don’t need another source of tension. We tell the Iranian public opinion that you have the right to develop your own civilian nuclear power and we are not against that. But the government has no right, as it has signed the NPT, to develop a military nuclear power. It will be a danger not only to the entire region, but also for the world, because the regime of non-proliferation would unravel as a result. In a nutshell, we are not concerned in the same way by the situation of human rights in Iran and the nuclear program. We are deeply impressed by the courage and dignity of Iranian people, who protest very bravely against the results of the election. (Read more...)