Mr. Bondevik on the election in Iran
Kjell Magne Bondevik, leader of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, fears that the rapprochement with the West can become critical through continued war rhetoric and a further weakening of human rights, particularly for women. “Contact and rapprochement from the West will be more important than ever,” said Bondevik in a press releases on June 15.
Under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad there was a more than 300 per cent increase in executions. Persecution of human rights defenders and religious minorities has increased. The international community must maintain the pressure on the regime to make it respect fundamental human rights. “Pressure has proved to work,” says Bondevik.
Relations with the USA
Barak Obama has extended an open hand and invited co-operation with Iran. In spite of Ahmadinejad’s re-election I hope the US will continue the rapprochement with Iran. Iran may prove to be central in solving important issues like the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan. “One should not overestimate Ahmadinejad’s power. No Iranian president – irrespective of reform friendly or conservative propensity – will be able to force significant changes in iranian foreign policy without a full endorsement from the supreme leader,” says the leader of the Oslo Center.
Contact and pressure more important than ever
The Oslo Center has since 2007 had a co-operation with former president Khatami and his Foundation for dialogue between civilizations. The co-operation has focused on issues like extremism and tolerance, religion and politics, equal rights and peace. “Khatami has demonstrated that he wants a dialogue with the rest of the world. He works at bringing Iran out of the last years’ international isolation,” says Kjell Magne Bondevik, leader of the Oslo Center. With Ahmadinejad as president this endeavour will be more important than ever, Bondevik says.