Austria / Press
Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Friday, April 17th 2009

STOP THE BOMB against Iran Travel of Chamber of Commerce and Durban II Conference

Stenzel, Pittermann and Petrovic criticize increase of economic contacts with Iran and Austrian participation at UN conference in Geneva

STOP THE BOMB, a non-partisan coalition against conducting business with the Iranian regime, criticizes the "exploration trip" of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce to Iran that is scheduled between 25-28 April 2009, and the participation of Austria at the so-called "antiracism conference" in Geneva, at which Iranian president Ahmadinejad has announced his attendance. STOP THE BOMB spokesperson Simone Dinah Hartmann views the trip of the Chamber of Commerce to Iran as a means to undermine international pressure on the regime in Tehran: "While Europe discusses a broadening of sanctions to have the regime stop its nuclear program, Austria marches in a different direction." 

Ursula Stenzel, former MEP of the conservative party and supporter of STOP THE BOMB, demands responsible policies and actions from the Chamber of Commerce: "The trip to Iran sends out a wrong signal. Certainly international business relations should be extended. But when faced with a regime like that of Iran, short-term economic interests must stand back. There is no 'business as usual' with a regime whose foreign politics is comprised of the denial of the Holocaust, and that threatens Israel with annihilation. " 

The Iranian regime, which is a significant contributor to the production and circulation of anti-Semitic propaganda like the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," took an integral part in the preparation of the UN’s second "antiracism conference." The former social democratic politician Elisabeth Pittermann, who was among the first to sign the STOP THE BOMB petition against business deals with Iran, is questioning the conference as a whole: "The conference in Geneva does not serve the necessary struggle against racism, but rather the delegitimation of Israel. It doesn’t advocate compliance to human rights obligations, but rather gives a podium to the worst violators of human rights like the Iranian regime." Madeleine Petrovic, head of the Green party in Lower Austria, who has recently signed the STOP THE BOMB petition, demands from the Austrian government: "The participation of Ahmadinejad just gives European governments another reason to boycott the UN conference. The Austrian government should not only speak out against the efforts of the Chamber of Commerce to expand the Austrian business with Iran, but should also issue a letter of refusal against the abuse of anti-racism that can be expected at the Durban II conference in Geneva." 

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