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
Meanwhile, John Tailor, the Ulster unionist, said that he got acquainted
with Iran whenever the issue of terrorism was raised and attributed to
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
Our presence here is for removal of these negative attitudes," he
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
Britain has special tools that can help with expansion of Iran-West ties,
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