SP: further sanctions against Iran would encourage dictatorship

17 June 2009

SP: further sanctions against Iran would encourage dictatorship

SP foreign affairs spokesman Harry van Bommel has today asked Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen to put human rights and the disputed election result at the centre of discussion of events in Iran. According to Van Bommel the minister was wrong to mix discussion of alleged electoral fraud with that of Iran's nuclear programme and the possible extension of sanctions against the country. "In the short term this does not represent support for the people of Iran, rather the opposite. To isolate Iran further would be to encourage dictatorship."

Harry van BommelAs things stand it remains unclear whether there will be a partial recount of the votes or if the opposition will succeed in forcing new elections. Foreign journalists are no longer able to work in the country. Earlier in the week, the SP asked the Foreign Minister to call on the Iranian chargé d'affaires in The Hague to explain why a camera crew and journalists from the popular Dutch news programme Nova has been expelled from his country. Although a meeting did take place, the chargé d'affaires refused any explanation of the limits to journalistic freedom imposed in Iran.

"Iran doesn't want anyone prying," says Van Bommel, "although right now openness is urgently needed. The Iranian authorities must make every effort to have confiscated material returned to the journalists."

In the Netherlands too, protests have taken place involving exiled Iranians anxious to draw attention to the violent response to peaceful demonstrators in their homeland. On Thursday Harry van Bommel was presented with a petition from a group of Iranian students.

You are here