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EU criticizes Iran's trade boycott on Denmark

Brussels, Feb 7, IRNA-The European Commission criticized Tuesday trade boycotts on Denmark for publishing the offensive cartoons saying it is not the appropriate way to deal with the issue.

"A boycott of Danish goods is by definition a boycott of European goods," said chief Commission spokesman Johannes Laitenberger.

"We do no think it is an appropriate means to intervene in this issue. Boycott hurts the economic interests of all parties.. and can damage growing trading links between the EU and the countries concerned .''

The spokesman was replying to a question during the daily Commission news conference in Brussels on Iran's decision to suspend trade with Denmark.

Laitenberger said the EU is studying the situation and is in contact with the Austrian EU presidency, EU member states and third parties to resolve this problem peacefully and efficiently.

On his part, Commission trade spokesperson Peter Power said negotiations on a trade and cooperation (TCA) agreement with Iran will remain suspended till the nuclear issue is resolved.

Commission spokesperson for external relations, Emma Udwin, noted that TCA talks are held in parallel with political dialogue which has set four priorities, WMDs, terrorism, Middle East peace process and human rights.

"We have always said that these two parallel tracks have to begin together and end together," she told reporters.

Protestors attack Danish Embassy in Tehran

Tehran, Feb 7, IRNA-More than 300 protestors attacked Danish Embassy in Tehran on Tuesday to protest a cartoon published in Danish press blaspheming Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

They chanted slogans denouncing desecration of the Islamic sanctities and called on the Danish government to bring to justice those who violated the rights of 1.5 billion Muslims of the international community by committing such sacrilegious act.

The demonstrators pelted stones and incendiary at the Embassy and occupied the embassy for a while before police intervened to disperse them.

'Down with US', 'Down with Denmark', and 'Down with Israel' were among the slogans chanted during the demonstration.

They also called for expulsion of the Danish ambassador from Iran.

Police sealed off the area and managed to calm the angry protesters.

Police told IRNA that they drove the attackers out of the embassy compound and dispersed them.

"No one is allowed to remain at the site," a police officer said.

Similar protests took place in front of Austrian Embassy in Tehran on Monday. Austria has undertaken current presidency of European Union (EU).

In reaction to sacrilege of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) committed by the press in several European countries President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on Ministry of Commerce to review Iranian trade relations with them.

Iran bans imports of Danish products

Tehran, Feb 6, IRNA-Commerce Minister Massoud Mir-Kazemi said here Monday that Iran as decided not to purchase Danish products beginning Tuesday.

Mir-Kazemi criticized the Danish government's indifference to the blasphemous cartoons depicting Prophet Mohamad (PBUH).

The Commerce Ministry will not allow Danish brands or products which have been registered in Denmark to clear the customs, he underlined.

On products including medicine and capital goods, he added that Iranian importers including state-affiliated organs and companies have three month to designate substitute products for Danish and then 'we will enforce the law'.

All on-going negotiations or contracts with Denmark which are pending will also suspended, he said, adding, "Furthermore all signed contracts will also be reviewed."

All exchange of delegations between the two countries will also be suspended until further notice.

All state-affiliated organs and private companies including Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Mines (ICCIM) have expressed readiness to enforce the call.

He said the fees levied on Danish ships docking in Iranian ports will also revert to the previous prices which are much higher than the current fees.

A committee has been formed to review the entry of Danish-registered ships into Iranian waters.

The total trade between Iran and Denmark is about dlrs 280 million of which a meager dlrs four million pertains to Iran's exports to that country, he said noting that Tehran runs a negative trade balance with Denmark.

On ban of Iranian exports to Denmark, he said Iran's exports to that country are meager.

On European Union's threat that any confrontation with Denmark will be treated as a confrontation with the entire EU, he added that 'the EU can take any action it wants to'.

He said that a committee has been formed to review trade ties with other countries which have published the offensive pictures, Mir-Kazemi added.

Insult to the holy prophet of Islam, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) by a section of the press in Denmark, Norway and Sweden has made Muslim states, including Iranian government and nation, deeply concerned, said Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki here last week.

In separate letters to his Danish, Swiss and Swedish counterparts, Mottaki expressed concern and deplored growing trend of Islamophobia and sacrilege of Islam and Islamic sanctities in certain European states.

The letter underlined the need to respect the values and sanctities of the divine religions not only within the framework of the religious teachings and injunctions but also within the framework of the legal and international regulations, including the international human rights conventions, calling for safeguarding and observing them.

Mottaki in his letter drew the attention of his European counterparts to the statement at the extraordinary summit of Organization of the Islamic Conference, which had raised strong protest to Islamophobia and distorting the image of Islam worldwide as a form of racism and racial discrimination.

He also recalled the resolutions of the UN Human Rights Commission regarding confronting sacrilegious acts as well as the UN General Assembly resolutions concerning dialogue among civilizations and cultures which reject insult to religions and sanctities.

The letter calls on foreign ministers of the three countries to seriously follow up the issue and inform Iran of the measures adopted in that connection.

... Payvand News - 2/7/06 ... --

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