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2/16/06

Khatami: I hope Europe will not make a mistake about Iran

TEHRAN, Feb. 15 (Mehr News Agency) -- Former President Mohammad Khatami said on Wednesday he believes Iran should adopt a wise strategy in regard to its nuclear issue while insisting on its nuclear rights. "There's no doubt about the fact that the West has adopted a bullying attitude toward the Islamic Republic," he told the students news agency ISNA.

He expressed regret over the West's double-standard approach toward countries, saying Israel as a Middle Eastern country has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has even developed nuclear weapons but the West is pressing Iran to renounce its nuclear program as a signatory to the NPT.

Khatami said this discrimination in the international arena is mainly due to U.S. pressure.

"I hope the West, particularly Europe, would not commit a mistake in regard to Iran and take into consideration Iran's eminent position since by establishing a good relationship with Iran, Europe can preserve its reputation and position more successfully.

"I hope that Europe would not feel that standing beside the U.S. will give it any concession ... The Europeans should realize that if they want to establish a presence in the Middle East they can only do so through a mutual relationship with Iran. I hope they will not make a mistake although they have made."

On the recent publication of offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in a number of the European press and the outrage caused in the Muslim world in response, Khatami noted that such tensions arise as a result of negative views between the world of Islam and the West.

"Today, major powers and powerful and influential lobbies fan the flames of such issues.

"The way that the Muslim world has reacted to the issue shows that it cannot be looked upon as insignificant. This is not just about the prophet of Islam but basically insulting or attacking religious beliefs is a dangerous thing to do."

Khatami noted that freedom of speech is all about speech whereas reviling is not a matter of speech but of action.

"Freedom of speech means to discuss issues freely and to reject or accept them but blaspheming or insulting does not represent speech, just as hitting a person in the street is against freedom."

... Payvand News - 2/16/06 ... --



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