Tehran-London Ties Will Help Expand Iran-West Relations

Tehran-London Ties Will Help Expand Iran-West Relations

TEHRAN Visiting members of a British delegationtold reporters here on Wednesday that expansion of Tehran-London relations will greatly contribute to promotion of relations between Iran and the west.

British delegation's visit is in line with exchange of visits between Iranian and British officials.
Head of the delegation Peter Temple-Morris stressed in the interview the role of parliamentarians in promoting Iran-Britain ties.
Morris said that he is confident that his attitude towards Iran will be better compared to the past upon returning home.
He said the British delegation is visiting Tehran on anopportune time because Iran is on threshold of parliamentary elections (on February 18, 2000) and that people's interest in and enthusiasm for the elections has been interesting to them.
Asked on London's stance towards Iran's parliamentary elections, Morris, who is head of Iran-Britain parliamentary friendship group, said: we do not say which group is better to win the majority in Majlis.
What is important is that after elections there will be economic stability and foreign investors will be sure of safety of their capital.
" Lord Phillips, who is a liberal democrat, touched on the fact that Iran has a young population and on his numerous visits to Tehran in the past. presently, he said, Iran has made considerable progress compared to the past, he said.
Elections are free in Iran and freedom of expression and the issue of political power have developed to a considerable extent, he added.
Meanwhile, David Atkinson, a conservative MP, said one of the objectives behind the British delegation's visit was to remove obstacles to improvement of Tehran-London relations. One of these obstacles is situation of Bahaies in Iran, he added.
Bahaies are considered as apostate in Iran; Bahasim dates back to 400 years ago; Bahaies want to be considered as a religious minority; we have come to Iran to speak about their condition," added Atkinson.
Morris, interrupted Atkinson, saying that the British delegation has met and conferred with representatives of Jews, Kurds and Armenians and found out that none of them have anything to worry about

After a series of consultations with other members of the British delegation, Morris turned to reporters and said: we do not consider the issue of Bahaies as an obstacle on the way of Tehran-London ties.
He said the British mps had raised the issue of Bahaies because they did not want to come under fire from their colleagues or reporters upon their return home.
British reporters are sensitive not only towards Bahaies but also towards the group of 13 Jews and students, who have been arrested in Iran, said Morris.
Meanwhile, John Tailor, the Ulster unionist, said that he got acquainted with Iran whenever the issue of terrorism was raised and attributed to Iran.
He said that now that he has come to Iran, he has seen nothing to this effect, that he was happy with the development of Iran and that religious minorities are provided with suitable rights.
Asked about ways of removing the Iranians people's negative attitude towards Britain, Tailer said relations between Iran and Britain are growing speedily.
Our presence here is for removal of these negative attitudes," he stressed.
Tailor said that next year an Iranian parliamentary delegation would travel to Britain, Iranian and British foreign ministers would meet with each other and the two countries would expand exchange of students.
Morris, rejecting existence of any negative attitude in Britain towards the Iranian people, said that what is important is that we have never had any bad ties; Iran and Britain have had age-old relations." Possibly there might be negative attitude in Iran towards Britain but name of Iran or Iranian does not bring any negative attitude into the minds of Britons, he said, adding that many Iranians are leading a decent life in Britain.
Morris referred to the role of Britain in the European Union and said relations between Iran and Britain will not only be effective in expansion of Iran-Europe relations but also in expansion of Iran-U.S. ties." What the U.S. Congress ratifies against Iran should not cause any difference between the two countries (Iran and the U.S.), said Morris, adding that since long ago there has been difference of opinion between the U.S. government and the congress.
Referring to conclusion of an accord between shell company and Iran, Morris said Britain acts independently and it signed the deal despite opposition of the U.S.
Atkinson said: our objective is to improve relations between Iran and Britain. During our meetings, we invited an Iranian parliamentary delgation to visit London after the sixth parliamentary elections.
A delegation from the British parliament will also come to Iran.
" Lord Phillips, a liberal democrat, compared long standing relations between Iran and Britain to a "family bond" and said such a bond can have both negative and positive points.
The British parliamentarian said one should rely on positive aspects of Iran-Britain ties.
Britain has special tools that can help with expansion of Iran-West ties, he added.
Iran is a religious country and is very different from western community, said Phillips adding: we want to help the west have a good understanding of Iranian community."




©Copyright 1999, Tehran Times
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