Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Elections in Iran

Delivered in Plenary - February 12th 2004

Mr President

Iran is a great country with a glorious past. I also believe it to be one of the most sophisticated Middle Eastern societies, with an inherent tendency towards progress and modernity. Perhaps its fundamentalist Islamic revolution will be seen, with the passage of time, as a blip in the curve of its traditionally long historic record of advancement.

It is precisely for this reason that at this critical juncture of the ongoing power struggle, the EU must maintain open supportive dialogue with both the government and the reformists, and in particular with the modernisers within the government. We have already seen the welcome suspension of the barbaric medieval punishment of female lapidation for adultery, and Iran has now agreed to sign the NPT Additional Protocol to put a stop to its covert nuclear weapons programme, now fully out in the open after the confessions of Abdul Qadeer Khan in Pakistan.

Ultimately, democracy too will prevail and the mullahs of the Council of Guardians will hopefully return to their intended spiritual and pastoral role.