Future Iran-Europe relations possible only after certain terms observed: experts

Iran Materials 29 June 2009 17:10 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 29 / Trend , T. Konyayea/

European countries say the relations between the European Union and Iran depend on preparedness of Iran to observe fundamentals of democracy while Iranian politicians and analysts say it depends on Europe's non-interference with Iran's internal affairs. 

"The only way for a lasting and peaceful solution to the current situation in Iran, as well as the establishment of stability in the region and peace is through the respect for democracy, human rights and legal principles of government", said the PACE resolution on Iran, adopted on June 25.

MPs strongly condemned events that have been taking place in Iran since June 13 and said that they are most concerned about the human rights situation in Iran and the use of force and violence against peaceful demonstrators.

They tend to believe in Iran that European countries played an excessive role in internal affairs of Iran and ongoing events.

"Europe should not repeat the mistakes committed earlier against Iran," said to Trend by telephone from Tehran Esmaeil Kosari, vice-president of Iranian parliament's security commission. - [...] There are "minor" disorders in Europe and what is occurring at this time in Iran is presented as revolutionary to overthrow the current regime."

The Iranian Government has recently accused Western countries, particularly the United Kingdom, of a deliberate escalation of tensions in the country, instigating disturbances and interference in the internal affairs of the country after the presidential elections held on June 12. This was followed by "political quadrille" - both parties exiled two diplomats working in embassies of these countries.

Reuters quoted the local media as saying that Iranian officials at the British embassy in Tehran were detained for involvement in the riots. A few days ago, the Iranian authorities arrested several foreigners, including British citizens. Also, Iran expelled the BBC correspondent from Tehran.

Kosari said that the foreign policy of the Iranian government is clear. "We do not go to the concessions to foreigners, but do not want to limit our relationships with them, but the leaders of Western countries, as well as their representation in Tehran supported the false sources of information and establish contacts with them. We can not calmly respond to what is happening," he said.

Kosari said if not to stop Europe's "inappropriate interference" in Iran's internal affairs, Tehran will impose restrictions on relations with some European countries, especially in the economic sphere.

PACE members stressed in resolution on Iran that the Council of Europe should play an active role to ensure a happy future of the Iranian people, democracy and fundamental freedoms.

Iranian experts also believe that this resolution will provoke strong opposition from Iran, although the further development of relations between European countries and Iran and content of the resolution are of great importance.

"The European Union and G8 decided to circulate a new resolution on Iran, Hermides Bavand, professor on international relations at Tehran State University, told Trend in a telephone conversation. - If the tone of the resolution is indictable or undermines the credibility of Ahmadinejad's authority, the already cool relations between Iran and Europe will worsen significantly. If the resolution will take a recommendatory character or contain a concrete collection of pragmatic measures, such as the use of new sanctions, I think that there could be changes in the Iran-EU relations."

However, with regards to re-elected Ahmadinejad's authority, the Policy Director at the Foreign Policy Centre, Adam Hug, said that the international prestige of the Iranian government has clearly been damaged by recent events while recent events will not particularly affect how more repressive regimes relate to Iran.

"The international prestige of the Iranian government has clearly been damaged by recent events, Adam Hug told Trend via e-mail. - Traditionally there has been a divide in attitudes towards Iran between the more sceptical, mostly Western, countries concerned primarily with human rights who have never been warm towards the regime and others who prioritise state sovereignty."

Hug said that Iran has been trying to gain greater influence not only in the Middle East but also in other developing countries by positioning itself as a champion for those who disapprove of the West's dominance. While recent events will not particularly affect how more repressive regimes relate to Iran its stock amongst the more democratic elements of the global south will have fallen as a result.   

One of the arguments of some foreign observers, opposing Western interference in the internal affairs of Iran, is the fact that official Iran has never interfered and has not made official statements regarding results of elections taking place in Western countries.

"I think that the European countries are deliberately trying to intervene in the internal affairs of Islamic countries, currently in affairs of Iran, Hosni Mahal, a leading Turkish analyst on the Middle East, told Trend by telephone. - On what grounds does Europe interfere in the internal affairs of the Iranian people and tries to solve the problems? Iran has never interfered in the elections in the United States or Europe, despite that contradicting situation also appears there after the announcement of the results."

However, Raymond Tanter, professor at Georgetown University, considers that the Iranian regime is less likely to be receptive of foreign policy offers because of splits within the ruling elite and challenges from the population.

"Now is not the time to expect engagement to pay dividends. Now is the time to exercise leverage over the regime by reaching out to its main opposition, the National Council of Resistance in Iran, to compel compliance," Tanter told Trend via e-mail. 

Powerful opposition unrest, recognized as the largest since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, broke out in Tehran after the announcement of the results of presidential elections held on June 12. The current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the elections, who according to the date by the Iranian CEC, has gained 66 percent of the votes. One of the losing candidates - reformer Mir Hussein Mousavi - accuses the government of falsifying the results of voting and encouraged people to hold protests.

European countries and the United States condemned the brutal methods of suppressing demonstrations in Iran, which led to deaths. According to unofficial data, 150 people were killed, In addition, they accused the government of Iran of undermining the fundamentals of democracy.

D.Khatinoglu and U.Sadigova contributed to the article.