European Parliament visit to Iran canceled

BRUSSELS Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:00am EDT

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Iran has canceled a European Parliament delegation visit to Tehran after the group asked to meet two Iranian activists awarded a top EU rights prize, a parliament spokeswoman said on Saturday.

The decision came after senior officials at the parliament, which on Friday awarded its Sakharov prize for human rights and freedom of thought to human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and filmmaker Jafar Panahi, said they wanted the delegation to meet the two activists.

"After hearing the new conditions, the Iranians decided to cancel," European Parliament spokeswoman Satu Helin told Reuters. The delegation was set to travel to Tehran from October 27 to November 2.

Iran's Mehr news agency quoted an Iranian parliamentary official as saying the European delegation had stated as a "precondition" a visit with Sotoudeh and Panahi.

"The European parliamentary delegation wished to visit two Iranian political prisoners and give them a prize," said Hossein Sheikholeslam, international affairs adviser to Iran's parliament, according to Mehr. "Iran did not agree with this condition."

Ties between Iran and Europe have become increasingly strained over Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

But meetings between European and Iranian parliamentary delegations were meant to keep open another line of communication, including with civil society - even though the European Parliament has little influence over dealings with Tehran.

Western countries accuse Iran of seeking a nuclear bomb; Tehran denies this and says its program is for peaceful purposes only.

(Additional reporting By Yeganeh Torbati in Dubai; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

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Comments (3)
boreal wrote:
The puppet European Parliament became a bit too top heavy with Zionist influences, obediently serving Israel.

Oct 27, 2012 10:10am EDT  --  Report as abuse
pbgd wrote:
It was a stupid idea to begin with.

Oct 27, 2012 11:44am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Neoji wrote:
It’d be great for the EU to show its respect for human rights by lifting sanctions against the Iranian people. But the EU does not care for human rights. Not those of Iranians anyhow.

Oct 28, 2012 6:06am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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