Baha'i News -- German foreign minister criticizes "harsh punishments" in Iran

German foreign minister criticizes "harsh punishments" in Iran

Text of report in English by Iranian news agency IRNA

Berlin, 7 June: German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer here Friday [7 June] sharply criticized the legal system of the Islamic Republic of Iran for implementing "harsh punishments".

"In Iran, we witness mostly harsh punishments based on the shari'ah which we are not ready to accept," said Fischer during a news conference, introducing the German government's annual human rights report.

Fischer, referring to his earlier two visits to Iran, noted that he made his government's position clear to the Iranian side.

"We concretely discussed and referred to the suppression of minorities, the Baha'is," the German minister added.

He said that "central human rights questions" were the focal points of his discussions with the former Iranian president during his recent trip to Tehran which Fischer termed as "candid".

The minister, voicing support for a dialogue with Islam, stressed the need for a "constructive and open dialogue" with Iran.

The chief diplomat said other outstanding points of contention with Iran remain, such as its alleged missile and weapons of mass destruction programme, the support of "terrorist groups" and its "general stance in the Mideast conflict".

Fischer reiterated that Berlin viewed the Iraqi backed MKO as a "terrorist organization".

©Copyright 2002, BBC Monitoring Middle East - Political

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