Finland summons Iran envoy over post-vote trials


Finland has summoned the Iranian ambassador to Helsinki to protest the trial of those accused of involvement in the country’s post-election violence.

Reza Nazarahari, the Iranian envoy, was called to the Foreign Ministry on Monday to hear Finland’s concern over the mass trials which have been taking place over the past two weeks, the ministry said in a statement.

Finnish Secretary of State Pertti Torstila held a meeting with Nazarahari, during which he called for the release of European citizens and embassy staff detained in the course of post-election unrest, the statement added.

Iran has put on trial those allegedly involved in the violence sparked in the aftermath of the 10th presidential election, which saw incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad winning by a landslide.

Among the defendants in the dock are well-known political figures, activists, local staff working for British and French Embassies in Iran as well as a female French academic.

In the meeting, Torstila also echoed an earlier statement by the European Union presidency, saying such moves would be considered as acts against all European Union members.

The European Union’s Swedish presidency on Saturday had criticized Iran for trying the embassy staff.

“The presidency expresses its concern over the ongoing trial in Tehran in the aftermath of the election, including against two EU member states’ embassy employees and one EU citizen,” the statement said.

“The presidency reiterates that action against one EU country, citizen or embassy staff, is considered an action against all of the EU,” it added.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi responded on Sunday, by saying that the EU statement lacked legal basis as the trial of the staff and the citizen was being carried out ‘in accordance with the international law’.

Qashqavi also said that Iran reserved the right to put the three on trial in order to prevent interference in its domestic affairs.

In reaction to a part of the statement which said that action against one EU country was considered an action against the entire EU, Qashqavi said that such approach surely amounted to ‘capitulation’.

Tehran accuses Western countries — the US and Britain in particular — for instigating the post-election protests in Iran, calling on them to adopt a policy of non-interference towards the country.

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