intro: almost five years ago, sadiq sharafkandi, [sad-ik sharaf-khan-dee] exiled chairman of the kurdish democrat party of iran, walked into the mykonos greek restaurant in berlin with three aides. while eating, the four were gunned down.
last week, a german court sentenced two of the killers to life imprisonment, jailed another pair, and accused the top leaders of the iranian government of issuing the assassination order.
the resulting diplomatic uproar has seen almost all european union nations recall their ambassadors from tehran and gives credence to the longstanding u-s position that tehran is sponsoring international terrorism.
now we call on ______________________for a sampling of world press reaction to the verdict.
text: kurdish leaders around the world say that since the theocracy took power in tehran in 1979, iran has been systematically killing exiled iranian leaders--of various political factions--all over europe. now, people are paying attention, in the wake of the verdict by a three-judge panel in berlin. iran immediately protested the verdict, as most european nations, including germany, pulled their ambassadors home from tehran for consultations. in response, iranians demonstrated around the german embassy in teheran for several days.
many governments are reassessing their relations with iran, and the world's press is full of comment. we begin in germany where the press is fairly critical of the government. for example, in the north, the "neue presse" of hanover says:
voice: "klaus kinkel's [ german foreign minister] 'critical dialogue' with the regime in tehran was a failure. human rights were not supported. but covered up by nice words, secret business deals developed; the federal republic became .... pivotal in the armament [of] iran. in continuation of the unscrupulous poison gas aid to libya and chemical weapons and missiles to iraq, business without morality proceeded. ..... it is hard to believe ...the government in bonn ...only now ... discovered this."
text: in bonn, the "general-anzeiger" had this comment within its editorial on the matter.
voice: "relations with a country, which orders the murder of its opposition leaders in germany, make no sense. the iranian state leaders did not distance themselves with a single word from this crime."
text: and in munich, the "sueddeutsche zeitung" snaps:
voice: ".... the only thing that would put an end to the murderous regime [in tehran] would be total, worldwide isolation. that, however, will never happen, and everybody knows it."
text: in scotland, edinburgh's "the scotsman" goes right to heart of the international dilemma when it says:
voice: "....the problem for both europe and the united states is that while they are now both equally convinced of iranian participation in acts of terrorism overseas, neither of them has come up with an effective policy for countering it."
text: and in so many words, france's "le figaro" in paris agrees, noting:
voice: "europe and the united states have equally failed when it comes to iran. neither the 'critical dialogue' nor ostracism has managed to convince tehran's regime to abandon terrorism .... instead of confronting each other, europeans and the united states would be wise to agree. only through a joint approach is there any hope of countering iran."
text: italy's "la repubblica" believes that russia was seeking to take quick advantage of a possible new opening in the middle east when it welcomed an iranian politician to moscow as european ambassadors came home from teheran. and in russia itself, from a front page article in "segodnya," there is this:
voice: "objectively, moscow profits by the mykonos [the name of the greek restaurant in berlin where the killings took place] case .... there is a chance for moscow in the middle east where it has looked pretty helpless of late."
text: in belgium, "le soir" of brussels suggested that:
voice: "the ayatollahs' illegal and criminal actions cannot remain unpunished."
text: while one of iran's neighbors, the english-language "turkish daily news" in istanbul, ran this comment:
voice: "if iran is on the wrong path, we have to warn it in a friendly way. this cannot be done by isolating iran. even iranian leaders say that they are not angry at germany; they are only upset about the current developments."
text: on the subcontinent, pakistan's "the nation" in lahore suggests:
voice: "condemning a country without giving it the opportunity to defend itself is bad for international harmony and peace."
text: giving us a view from the pacific, australia's "sydney morning herald" commented:
voice: "the question of iran's sponsorship of terrorism outside its borders looms large in the middle east peace process. and it is always in danger of colliding directly with the interests of the united states. the german court's identification of iranian government responsibility for murders in berlin in 1992 coincides with a similar identification by canadian authorities last week of iranian government complicity in the truck-bombing of a u-s military compound in saudi arabia last year."
text: and for our final word, we turn to argentina, and "the buenos aires herald", which tied the german court verdict to an act of terrorism closer to home.
voice: "the decision by a german court in berlin .... marks not only a long overdue u-turn [total change of course] in the relations between germany and iran, but a watershed in the relations between the democratic western world and ... iran .... in the wake of the events taking place in germany, it is hoped that the verdict has both an impact on the iranian regime and on those parties in this country who continue going out of their way to prove that almost anybody - - with the exception of the main suspects - - must be responsible for the terrorist attack on the israeli embassy and amia building [in buenos aires]. as was proved in berlin .... all that that is needed [understood:here in argentina] is a court of justice with the will and capacity to investigate with complete judicial objectivity, establishing truth and justice while offering no concessions to political necessity."
text: with that we conclude this brief sampling of world press opinion on the recent verdict against four men for the murder of a kurdish-iranian political leader and three of his aides.
neb/ang/nl 17-apr-97 5:18 pm edt (2118 utc)
source: voice of america