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EU, Iran to continue human rights dialogue


The third round of EU-Iran human rights dialogue ended in Brussels Thursday night with both sides voicing satisfaction over the outcome of the two-day meeting, IRNA reported.

"The discussions were very friendly, very positive, frank and constructive. This is also the understanding of the EU side," said Mehdi Danesh-Yazdi, Director General for Legal and International Affairs in the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Yazdi, who headed the Iranian delegation, told IRNA that two main topics discussed were the freedom of expression and the right to development. The first topic was proposed by the EU and the second by Iran.

Cristina Gallach, the spokeswoman for EU foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana, told IRNA that the dialogue was held in "a very good atmosphere."

"For us this meeting is important. We attach importance to this type of gathering. We think it is a good way to understand better the internal process in Iran as well for Iranians to understand better what is our position on human rights issues," said Gallach.

Iranian woman MP, Jamileh Kadivar, said "both sides expressed satisfaction over the dialogue and found it positive to promote understanding between Iran and the EU."

The Iranian delegation included foreign ministry officials, MPs, judiciary officials, academics and representatives of NGOs. Five woman participants were among the Iranian delegation.

The EU side was led by the current Italian Presidency with the participation of the EU Council and Commission as well as Member of European Parliament, NGOs and academics.

"These dialogues have contributed to a better and mutual understanding between Iran and the EU," said Yazdi. He said the EU side raised some concerns about human rights in Iran while the Iranian side raised its concerns about the growing Islamophobia and the ill-treatment of Muslims in Europe, especially after the 11 September 2001 events.

Kadivar said discrimination related to women and minorities and racism was discussed in length.

She said the Iranian side raised problems concerning discrimination against Muslim women such as the issue of hejab and discrimination of minorities and immigrants in Europe. She said Europe should pay more attention to these human rights issues.

"Both sides presented their views very well. The dialogue was lively and transparent," Kadivar told IRNA.

She said the Iranian side replied to the concerns raised by the EU side on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic. The two sides agreed to hold the fourth round of the EU-Iran human rights dialogue most probably in Tehran in March under the Irish EU Presidency.

The first round of EU-Iran human rights dialogue was held in Tehran last December and the second round in Brussels in March.

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