Bahai News - Kharrazi Right Man for the Job Category: Perspectives

Date: Sunday, March 12, 2000

Kharrazi Right Man for the Job

Part 1 --Now almost after three years, all pundits believe that President Seyed Mohammad Khatami's top foreign policy-maker Kamal Kharrazi is the right man for the post of foreign minister.
Today's political climate in respect of Iran's relations with both East and West are satisfactory, and one can easily expect even better relations.
Earlier the Iranian officials were reluctant to open Iran's doors to the West. President Khatami was the first president to visit Italy, Vatican and France.
Iran believed and still believes in an independent policy with no meddling from outside. But the fact is that the interpretation of this policy was not completely correct. Some interpreted this policy in such a way that Iran should close its doors to the outsiders, and that no issues related to Iran's internal affairs should be raised.
The fact is that the world in which we live is not perfect, nor can anyone claim his or her society is flawless. Some flaws may be detected in respect of human rights and treatment of the religious and ethnic minorities.
As journalists, we consider it our duty to write about the oppression committed against the Blacks in the United States or minorities in the United Kingdom or elsewhere.
Others may also feel entitled to talk about similar flaws in Iran. Why not? After all, we are all humans and humans can make mistakes.
Thus, constructive criticism may greatly help to remove those flaws.
Last January, Kharrazi visited London, where he met with Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Robin Cook. During his meetings with the British officials, Kharrazi raised the issue of the representation of the British Muslim minority in the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament.
Kharrazi's hosts promised that they would look into the matter and try to improve the situation.
Similarly, Blair and Cook discussed with the Iranian foreign minister the issue of human rights and similar issues related to Iran, and Kharrazi gave proper replies to their questions.
Last week, Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini and German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer were hosted by Kharrazi. Both the host and the guests, while talking to the reporters, admitted that the exchange of visits and views was the most useful and effective way of bridging the gap over some issues.
Fischer, from the Green Party in the German Socialist-led coalition government, raised such issues as Jews, bahais and weapons. Kharrazi, for his part, presented facts and clarified Iran's stance on these issues, and his guest voiced satisfaction with his explanations.
Germany was Iran's greatest trading partner until 1996, when a German court in Berlin issued a ruling accusing the Iranian officials of involvement in the murder of some Kurdish dissidents in Mykonos restaurant in Berlin.
Moreover, the arrest of a German businessman Helmut Hofer on charges of having illicit relations with an Iranian woman in 1997 further soured the relations between the two countries.
Hofer was finally released on Jan. 20, 2000.
Last Wednesday, when Kharrazi and Fischer were addressing a press conference, hundreds of victims of chemical weapons supplied by the German firms and deployed by Iraq during its imposed war on Iran staged a sit-in in front of the German Embassy in Tehran.
Kharrazi assured the victims of chemical weapons that their grievances would be on the agenda of his talks with the visiting German minister.
During his talks with Fischer, Kharrazi denounced the German companies that had supplied chemical weapons to the Iraqi regime.
Fischer also slammed those companies and considered the sale of toxic chemicals as an illegal business.
He noted that We are prepared to rectify any past mistake.'' The Iranian foreign minister further raised with his German counterpart the issue of an Iranian citizen Kazem Darabi, who is serving a jail term in Germany. Later, addressing a press conference, Kharrazi announced that the case of Darabi was no longer an obstacle to bilateral ties.
The two sides also discussed the Middle East issue. The Iranian minister said that Israel must withdraw from South Lebanon, and that the Lebanese Hizbollah has a legitimate right to resist the oppression committed by the Israeli regime against the Lebanese people.
Fischer, commenting on the Middle East issue, said that his country supports the Middle East peace process and hopes that the rights of the Syrians, the Lebanese, the Jordanians and the Palestinians will be restored.' He appealed for Iran's constructive role in the peace process.
In response, the Iranian official made it clear that Iran wants a real peace in the region.
Following the two days of official talks, which were held between the two countries after almost one decade, both sides expressed satisfaction with the outcome.
Fischer's visit also paved the way for a visit by President Khatami to Germany in spring.
More visits will be exchanged between Iranian and European officials, as British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook is due to arrive here very soon.
Such visits and exchange of views will help to foil the propaganda spread by the counterrevolutionaries and some biased media against the Islamic Republic. Iran has been a victim of a smear campaign ever since the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Therefore, efforts should be made to present to other nations a real picture of Iran and its revolution, and Foreign Minister Kharrazi and his colleagues are doing a good job to achieve this.

©Copyright 2000, Tehran Times

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