Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati has repeated President Rafsanjani's view that the verdict in the Mykonos trial in Germany was politically motivated. Velayati said European countries had acted with some confusion in the wake of an EU call for European ambassadors to be recalled from Tehran. He said Iran would react negatively to negative moves by European countries and positively to positive moves.
He warned that long-term European economic interests in Iran might be compromised. The following are excerpts from Velayati's interview to Iranian TV news, broadcast on 11th April; subheadings inserted editorially:
[Announcer] You heard the president's remarks at today's Friday sermons in Tehran. Just as you heard, Mr [Akbar] Hashemi-Rafsanjani gave several reasons to support the point that the Berlin court verdict was a political move. In this connection, we have invited Mr [Ali Akbar] Velayati, foreign minister of our country, to come to the newsroom and talk to us about the different dimensions of this event...
The news received from Radio [Voice of] America was that the White House had officially announced that the Middle East talks have reached a deadlock... Mr Velayati, noting the news which I have just read and which was broadcast today by the VOA, could you tell us why have the Americans chosen this particular point in time to announce that the Middle East peace talks have reached a deadlock.
[Velayati] ... We have numerous reasons - which can be proved and cannot be denied - for believing that this court was a political one and that its main motivations were, in effect, political rather than judicial. There are also different motivations involved in why they chose this particular point in time and why they published their declaration so strongly and sensationally in Zionist propaganda media.
If we look at the case, we can make sense of the identity of the court and of the latest propaganda. The first reason why this court is political is that it made use of discredited witnesses and persons who, as far as our judiciary is concerned and on the basis of strong evidence, are guilty. In spite of the explanations we have given during this period and the fact that we declared - through our embassy in Germany, two years back - that the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to deal with and respond to any allegations in connection with this issue provided that the court could provide firm evidence, we received no response from the court suggesting that it is prepared to listen to the remarks of the Islamic Republic of Iran' s representative.
The second reason why it is clear that the court was a political one is that if you were to look at the pictures and films which have been relayed from there, you will see that a large number of Iranian co unter-revolutionaries were present inside and outside the court and at the point when the judge was making some statements against the Islamic Republic of Iran, people were drowning his voice by clapping. Just as Mr Hashemi-Rafsanjani pointed out, this is a disgrace for the German judiciary. Where do you find a custom of politicizing and sensationalizing the atmosphere in the court so much so that justice and injustice cannot be distinguished in that atmosphere?
The third reason is that some of the political officials of European countries such as Britain had long since predicted what the court's verdict will be. Some of the English [politicians] told us - they told some of our officials - almost exactly what would happen.
This shows that this was certainly not a judicial and just trial but that a political decision had already been taken about the nature of the verdict.
The fourth reason is what Mr Hashemi [-Rafsanjani] briefly referred to - the mediation proposal made to the Islamic Republic of Iran and our friends in the world of Islam. [This proposal was that:] If the Islamic Republic of Iran were to help by using its extensive influence in the world of Islam to find one of the missing Zionist individuals, then the whole Mykonos court case would be dropped.
These four reasons, which are based on evidence, prove the political nature of the court.
However, from an analytical point of view, let us see what were their motivations. The first point was what I have already referred to; namely, the deadlock in our talks. Of course, the deadlock in the talks is something which was announced by the Americans today or yesterday.
However, from the time that these talks began, we predicted that these talks would end in deadlock.
The second point was the improvement and the progress which was achieved in the political and economic situation of the Islamic Republic of Iran at home, in the region and in the international arena. Especially the recent diplomatic moves by the Islamic Republic of Iran and the very valuable gains which we have achieved in our dealings with Islamic countries, despite the urgings of the spokesman of the State Department who, at the beginning of our diplomatic moves, asked the Islamic countries not to attend the [Organization of the] Islamic Conference summit in Tehran; yet we all witnessed that this invitation to the leaders [of Islamic countries] was welcomed everywhere.
We feel that this collection [of issues] could provide the reason behind such a disgraceful action by this local German court. One of the clear examples of the progress made in our diplomatic relations with the regional and international powers, despite some of the hostile attitudes of some Western countries, such as America, was the very positive attitude of the Russian government towards the Islamic Republic of Iran in all dimensions.
[Q] Thank you very much, Mr Velayati. You referred to the issue of the political nature of the [verdict by the] court which can be properly studied from different angles. You referred to some of these angles. Please let me raise one more question, and that is about the statement of Holland, the rotational chairman of the EU session, about the withdrawing of EU ambassadors from Iran. Please tell us what issues have been involved in this decision of the rotational EU chairman, and what will be Tehran's reaction to this?
[A] When the EU chairman expresses his stance, it shows that, at least at the beginning, European countries were not unanimous in their views.
Therefore, the chairman has to declare a stance. There are other signs that this was the case. Another point is that even during the past 24 hours the Islamic Republic of Iran has shown that it will respond decisively, speedily and in a measured way to any senseless act by any country. Our recommendation to Germany and to all other countries is that they should not link their long-term interests, their long-term political and economic interests in Iran, the region and the Islamic world with the remarks of a known judge [a judge whose prejudice is allegedly known] of a local court.
They should know that we are determined to respond decisively and speedily to any negative or positive action. Our response to any negative move would be negative, and our response to any positive move would be positive. They should not act in a rash way. They should not lose their balance by engaging in such a cry and hue. The Islamic Republic of Iran is watching the behaviour of other countries in complete dignity. The future of the relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran with those countries will depend on the nature of their dealings with us.
[Q] Therefore, our response to the stance adopted by the EU is quite clear.
[A] That is right. I should add that our past experiences also show us that countries will not subjugate their long-term interests in an important country in the region and in the Islamic world - such as Iran - to these suspicious moves which are being orchestrated by the Zionists...
(c) BBC Monitoring Summary of World Broadcasts. SOURCES BBC MONITORING SERVICE
BBC MONITORING SERVICE: MIDDLE EAST 14/4/97