Greens call on Austrian president to cancel Iran visit
VIENNA, Sept 16 (AFP) - The leader of Austria's Greens called on President
Thomas Klestil Thursday to cancel a planned trip to Iran next week because
of death sentences handed down there against four leaders of recent pro-democracy
Alexander van der Bellen said in a statement issued by his party that
the two-day visit, the first by a European head of state since the 1979
Islamic revolution in Tehran, would be inappropriate with the four executions
On Sunday, the president of Tehran's revolutionary court said the four
main instigators of protests which erupted in July after police violently
dispersed a student demonstration in Tehran University.
The decision was denounced by reformers in Iran who said there had been
no public word about any trial. They called for details of the case to
be made public.
Van der Bellen said the Klestil's visit would lend a veneer of respectability
to Iran despite its human rights and be an "insult" to the democratic
opposition in Tehran.
Klestil is scheduled to visit Iran for two days in a bid to improve
economic ties between the two countries. The European representative in
the National Council for Iranian Resistance, Masud Rajavi, protested the
visit in a letter to Klestil on Monday.
More than 1,400 people in all were arrested in connection with July's
unrest, triggered when police attacked a Tehran university dormitory where
students had been demonstrating against the closure of a leading pro-reform
newspaper by a conservative court.
Six days of bloody rioting erupted in Tehran and the unrest -- the worst
since the aftermath of the 1979 revolution -- also spread to the provincial
capital of Tabriz, where students said at least 15 people, three of them
women, suffered gunshot wounds after security forces opened fire on a student