Dissident: More sanctions would damage Iranian opposition

Nov 30, 20090 comments

Berlin – Further international economic sanctions on Iran would damage the country’s pro-democracy movement and have no effect on the current regime, leading Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji said in Berlin Monday. Tension between Iran and the international community peaked again Monday, after Tehran announced it had ordered the construction of 10 further uranium enrichment sites. “I am against economic sanctions, as in Iraq and Libya they had no influence, brought no damage to the regime,” he said through an interpreter. “However children and the elderly suffered, and many died,” he said. Ganji, a former revolutionary guard and intelligence officer, became disenchanted with the Islamic state and became a regime- critical journalist in the 1990s. Ganji was speaking in Berlin as a guest of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, where he last appeared in 2000. Following his speech there he was arrested on his return to Iran and imprisoned for “damaging national security.” Iran’s elite would see further sanctions as a challenge from the country’s middle class opposition movement, Ganji said, which would then be directly threatened by the government. “The more we have to do with sanctions, the higher the pressure on the middle class. They would be wiped out,” he said. On Monday the foreign ministers of France and Germany responded to Iran’s announcement with the threat of further sanctions. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – which Friday passed a censure motion on Iran’s secret enrichment plant at Qom – had offered a deal whereby Tehran’s uranium for civilian use could be enriched abroad. “It must be clear that if Iran refuses our offer of accord, it will have to expect further sanctions,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Monday. Ganji, who supported the 2009 presidential election protests, said that any military action by the US or Israel against Iran would remove any possibility of democratic reform in the country. “As soon as there would be a military invasion, the majority would rally in defence of their country,” he said. Source: http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/296999,dissident-more-sanctions-would-damage-iranian-opposition.html