Iran criticizes Ashton's meeting with activists
Baku, Azerbaijan, March 10
By Dalga Khatinoglu - Trend:
The Spokeswoman of Iran's Foreign Ministry Marziyeh Afkham criticized the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's meeting with some human right activists on March 8 in Tehran.
Ashton who flew to Tehran on March 8, International Women Day, visited women's rights defender activists, including Narges Mohammadi.
Mrs. Mohammadi is an Iranian human rights activist and the vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi.
According to Mehr News Agency, Afkham said on March 10 that Mrs. Ashton's meeting with women right activists was unannounced and uncoordinated with the Iranian government and Tehran notified Austria's embassy to Tehran regarding that meeting.
Mrs. Afkham referred to "some unofficial" meetings of Ashton as the West's selective approach and dual position on human rights issues with Iran, saying that "these sort of actions would increase the Iranians' doubts about the West and it doesn't help to develop Iran-EU relations.
Before Mrs.Afkham, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Massoud Jazzayeri censured EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton for meeting with some Iranian "female dissidents", and asked her to show more care and sensitivity to the "problems of European women".
"We won't allow the West to meddle in Iran's internal affairs under any pretext," Fars News Agency quoted Jazzayeri as saying on March 10.
However, even before Ashton's visit to Tehran, discussion about human rights issue was announced as part of her agenda.
Edited by C.N.