Tehran slams EU Delegation For Meeting Dissidents

larijaniIran has slammed European parliamentarians for meeting with prominent dissidents during a visit this month to the Islamic republic.

The eight-member European Parliament delegation, during a six-day visit that ended on December 17, met with human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and filmmaker Jafar Panahi.

Iran’s ISNA news agency reported on December 22 that officials at the Greek Embassy in Tehran, who had arranged the meeting, were summoned to the Foreign Ministry on December 22 to be informed of Iran’s “displeasure.”

Kazem Jalali, a conservative lawmaker, said the meeting amounted to “interference in Iran’s internal affairs.”

Sotoudeh and Panahi were both arrested in the aftermath of former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection in 2009.

Sotoudeh and Panahi were released along with nearly a dozen other political prisoners in September.

Larijani Condemns EU meetings

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani deplored the EU parliamentarians for their secret meeting with two Iranian dissidents at the Greek embassy in Tehran, calling it a “cheap” move, Iran’s Fars News AgencyFNA reported on Sunday.

“What the (EU parliament’s) delegation has done was a cheap and bad move because when a delegation travels to a country, it should act according to its working agenda, and holding secret meetings, specially for the Europeans, was a cheap action,” Larijani said in an open session of the parliament on Sunday.

“If the EU delegation had a plan for the meeting, it should have informed the Iranian side of it, and then it would be either accepted or rejected,” he added.

rferl.org/ FNA