Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Situation in Iran

Delivered in Plenary - 19th January 2010

Mr President

President Ahmadinejadís ruthless ambition to develop nuclear weapons represents, in my view, the gravest threat to world peace today.

Only through a united and coordinated approach will the EUís diplomacy eventually succeed. Renewed sanctions must now be targeted and must be extremely damaging to the regime in Tehran. But, equally, we should recognise that Iranís people and the Iranian regime are not the same thing.

Since Ahmadinejad stole the presidential election last year, we have seen many dissidents and brave young protestors take to the streets. These people need our support because they identify with our values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. Indeed, such is the desperation in Iran that opposition leader Mir Hossain Musavi, hardly known to be a democrat in the past, has said he is prepared to sacrifice his own life for the future good of his own country. Meanwhile, outrageous human rights abuses continue unabated as juveniles and homosexuals are executed routinely.

We MEPs in this House long to see a democratic and free Iran, which no longer exports terrorism via Hamas and Hezbollah, and takes its rightful place in the international community. The EU should redouble its efforts to expedite that process in every way possible.