Published in German in “Die Zeit” No. 41 of October 1, 2009
First published in English on on September 23, 2009
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Radio Interview, “Deutschlandfunk” October 1 2009

The main subject of this interview are the beginning nuclear talks with Iran. Jochen Spengler interviewed Barbara Lochbihler, chairwoman of the Iran delegation of the EU parliament and former secretary general of the German section of Amnesty International. Apart from the issue of nuclear negotiations, which will not be summarized here due to sufficient international media coverage, Jochen Spengler asked her one question of particular interest for the context of opposition and human rights in Iran.

Spengler: Ms Lochbihler, we had already talked about the fact that you have been the secretary general of the German section of Amnesty International for quite a long time. Do you, in your new position as an EU delegate, still follow the current human rights situation in Iran, and if so, what is your impression?

Lochbihler: Yes, absolutely! After all, the human rights situation is absolutely a key issue for the mutal relations, and as well as in our talks with, for example, the Iranian members of parliament. And we have seen that, in the aftermath of the presidential elections, there have been violations of the freedom of assembly, of opinion, of information. The current situation is such that those who are being convicted in some sort of show trials for claiming their rights according to the constitution – free voting or making use of their right to vote – feel their rights have been violated. We can see very clearly here that those trials are indeed show trials. Iran is almost on top of the list of executions of minors. However, there are approaches inside the parliament to at least draft a bill to ban it.

Spengler: The reason I am asking is – I wonder to what extent it will be possible to trust such a regime in these nuclear talks? Do you believe this regime?

Lochbihler: We can not believe one side only – I think that’s not a good idea – but rather we should rely on how the IAEA will assess the situation, what will scientists and experts have to say on this issue. All this has to be considered. However, at the same time we also have partners from other groups in Iran. The situation is not as stable as the Iranian media are trying to make us believe. We have received a lot of information from civil organizations indicating that there is a strong resistance against the government. Of course, those are power struggles within the political leadership, and we do not know who eventually will win, but we can to resort to various resources of knowledge.