France 'highly concerned' by Iran poll violence

14th June 2009, Comments 0 comments

France is "highly concerned" by the crackdown on Iranian protesters in the wake of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed election landslide, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Sunday.

Paris - France is "highly concerned" by the crackdown on Iranian protesters in the wake of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed election landslide, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Sunday.

"We are highly concerned because there was the beginning of a dialogue" between Iran's rival political factions, Kouchner told a press conference after talks with US President Barack Obama's Middle East envoy George Mitchell.

"I am sorry that instead of openness there has been a somewhat brutal reaction. There is no solution in brutality and in the endless pursuit of military activities," Kouchner warned.

Police fired tear gas on a crowd of about 200 stone-throwing people Sunday as renewed protests erupted in Tehran over Ahmadinejad's disputed win, an AFP reporter said.

Kouchner stressed that France was "still strongly in favour of a dialogue with the civil society" of Iran.

"We must demonstrate to public opinion that we are not against them. We in Europe want to play a peaceful role."

A senior advisor to French President Nicolas Sarkozy meanwhile warned that the disputed outcome of the vote was "good news for no one."

"What is happening in Iran is good news for no one, neither for Iranians, nor for peace and stability in the world," Henri Guaino told Europe 1 radio.

"The fact that Iran is not breaking out of its violent rhetoric, that there are riots, arrests, that people are being pursued, thrown in jail, brutalised, is good news for no one."

Guaino said it was impossible to judge from Paris whether the elections had passed observers' tests on impartiality, but warned: "We are faced with a major political event.

"Mr Ahmadinejad is here, with all his excesses, his outrages, and that does not help the task of those in the world who want to take Iran into consideration, to respect it and talk to it."

AFP / Expatica

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