To the West: Don't Sacrifice Democracy with Iran

Article excerpt

Nathan Gardels, editor of Global Viewpoint, spoke with Shirin Ebadi, a 2003 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, on Sunday, Oct. 18. Nathan Gardels: There seems to be a breakthrough in negotiations among Iran, the US, and Europe on uranium enrichment, with Iran allowing IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] inspection of its new enrichment plant near Qom on Oct. 25 and entertaining the idea of sending low-enriched uranium abroad to reprocess for medical purposes. Does this portend less tension with the West overall? Shirin Ebadi: It is early to judge. We must wait and see if Iran will fulfill the promises it makes. At the same time, while the US talks of negotiations, it is also preparing to strengthen sanctions. This shows that despite improvement in relations, neither side is able to gain the full trust of the other side. Gardels: What impact, if any, might this fragile new relationship have on the so-called democratic "green movement" in Iran, led by former presidential candidate Moussavi, which is still protesting the election results? Ebadi: Its impact will depend on whether the nuclear energy issue is negotiated alone, or if democracy and human rights, too, are on the agenda of the talks. …