The Tajani-Reza Sabouri meeting. On Wednesday, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani summoned the Iranian Ambassador-designate to Italy, Mohammad Reza Sabouri. “I asked with great firmness not to carry out any more executions, to stop the violent repression and to dialogue with the demonstrators. The Italian government will do everything possible to guarantee respect for human rights in Iran,” he tweeted shortly after.
- Speaking with the press, FM Tajani sought to voice Rome’s “indignation and concern about what is happening in the country” and reminded the Iranian that killing a 12-year-old girl, a 14-year-old girl or a 17-year-old boy “has nothing to do with protecting the country’s national security.”
- “We hope that Iran will respond positively to Italy’s request,” he added, noting that the Iranian Ambassador-designate had said he would report back to his government.
- Mr Reza Sabouri received the approval of President Sergio Mattarella in early August, but nothing is known about his credentials. He was previously Ambassador to Belarus and Kyrgyzstan and Foreign Ministry director-general for the Department of Commonwealth of Independent States and the Caucasus. He was also head of the department for economic cooperation.
Principles and actions. “Italy and Europe are committed to defending the values of freedom and democracy. We seek dialogue and confrontation, but red lines cannot be crossed,” added Mr Tajani. “For us Italians and all Europeans, the death penalty is a line of no return, especially when used for those who oppose the government and for futile reasons.”
- “Either executions are suspended,” he added, “or we will continue to condemn in the strongest terms what is happening. We defend human rights, freedom of the press and freedom to demonstrate.”
- NGOs report at least 476 victims among protesters, over 14,000 arrested and more than 100 at risk of the death penalty.
- Last week, Italian parties united in committing the government to take action at the EU and UN level to stop Tehran’s repression of its people, to expand and update the list of individual sanctions and strengthen controls to prevent the circumvention of sanctions on Italian soil.
Nuclear talks. Minister Tajani also explained that nuclear deal negotiations with Iran had nevertheless not been chalked out by the EU’s foreign ministers in hopes that Tehran should choose the path of dialogue and confrontation. “I called again today for a responsible attitude towards the Middle East area because we believe that we have to work for stability,” he said.
- Further international sanctions against Iran “must be [decided] at the international and UN level,” he added. “I want to hope that Iran will accept our call for freedom, not interference.”