Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Voices from Iran

The Foreign Policy Centre, based in London, recently published its latest publication, Voices from Iran, in Parliament. Based on a series of interviews with civil society actors in Iran, this publication seeks to showcase the spectrum of opinion amongst Iranians on the direction their country is taking. This new report argues that human rights, democracy and civil liberties in Iran must not be sidelined during the discussions on Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The report seeks to flesh out the spectrum of opinion amongst Iranians and draws upon interviews with opinion formers as diverse as a feminist, a government official, a human rights activist and a young entrepreneur. “Like a Persian hall of mirrors, the diplomatic strategies of the neoconservatives in America, are reflected by the neoconservatives in Iran. The risks of engagement are real but a good case can be made that the risks of not engaging with Iran are greater – sanctions and isolation have not brought any positive change; vile human rights abuses continue and the reformist forces in Iran are weak. The US hard line provides Iranian hardliners with a perfect alibi for their own failures.” The report concludes that, whatever the style of debate, and however tense the discussions may be, engagement is the only means to avert a military conflict.

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