Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

EU must support Iran's people but punish its regime

19th January 2010

European Conservatives and Reformists group foreign affairs coordinator, Charles Tannock MEP, has called on EU High Representative Ashton to hit the Iranian regime with sanctions that are "targeted and extremely damaging", but to support the people of Iran who identify with our values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

In a debate in the European Parliament with Baroness Ashton, Dr Tannock said:

"President Ahmedinejadís ruthless ambition to develop nuclear weapons represents the gravest threat to world peace today.

"Only through a united and coordinated approach will the EUís diplomacy succeed. Renewed sanctions must be targeted and extremely damaging to the regime. But equally we should recognize that Iran's people and the Iranian regime are not the same.

"Since Ahmedinejad stole the presidential election last year we have seen many dissidents and brave young protesters take to the streets. These people need our support, because they identify with our values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

"We long to see a democratic and free Iran, which no longer exports terrorism via Hamas and Hezbollah, take its rightful place in the international community and we should redouble efforts to expedite that process in every way possible."