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European Parliament members urged not to visit Iran

JTA

October 18, 2012 | 9:25 am

Jewish and non-Jewish organizations urged the European Parliament to cancel a planned visit to Iran by some of its lawmakers.

B’nai B’rith International President Allan Jacobs said the visit by 15 of the parliament’s lawmakers on Oct. 27 would be “counterproductive” to efforts to isolate Iran in response to its perceived efforts to gain nuclear weapons and the regime’s human rights violations. The American Jewish Committee also condemned the visit.

On Tuesday, the vice president of the European Parliament, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, also had decried the visit.

"We believe that any formal delegation from the European Parliament or any national parliament in Europe to Iran will be extremely counterproductive,” he said.

The Oct. 27 visit was announced last month by the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Iran as a means to “build bridges” with that country.

In the Netherlands, the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, a watchdog group on anti-Semitism, called on the Dutch representative to cancel her participation in the delegation.

A joint statement by CIDI and the Iran Comite, a Dutch nonprofit monitoring Iranian human rights violations, said the visit would “legitimize Iran’s objectionable politics, also in the eyes of the Iranian population.”

The Vienna-based European Stop the Bomb coalition also called for the visit to be canceled, as did U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) in a letter they sent to European Parliament President Martin Schulz. The senators urged Schulz to reconsider the visit “given Iran’s continued human-rights offenses and failure to suspend its nuclear program.”

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