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FACTDROP: Indonesia: House welcomes Iran lobby, promises further engagement


Indonesia: House welcomes Iran lobby, promises further engagement

Muhammadiyah Chairman Din Syamsuddin welcomes Iran's ambassador for Indonesia, Mahmoud Farazandeh in Jakarta to discuss the latest development of Islamic issues (12/2010)

Πηγή: Jakarta Post
Nov 16 2011

A meeting between Iran’s envoy and Indonesian lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Tuesday yielded a more favorable response to the Tehran lobby in comparison to that received from the Yudhoyono administration.

The meeting, hosted by the House’s Commission I overseeing defense, foreign affairs and information, touched on various issues, particularly Iran’s nuclear program, which according to the latest UN nuclear watchdog report, is veering toward the creation of the Islamic republic’s first atomic bomb.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that data “indicated Iran had carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.” Tehran denounced the report, saying it was “unbalanced, unprofessional and politically motivated”.

Iran’s Ambassador to Indonesia Mahmoud Farzandeh explained to lawmakers that his country’s nuclear related scientific activities were merely aimed at developing alternative energy sources to meet rocketing demand due to the multiplying Iranian population over the last few years.

“The only atomic bomb that Western countries must worry about is Iran’s determination to develop itself and be independent, without their back up,” Farzandeh told the Commission.

At the meeting, Farzandeh called for the participation of “neutral nations” to verify Iran’s nuclear energy program. He said his government had sent a letter to the Foreign Ministry, requesting that Indonesia monitor the Iran’s nuclear programs and give an objective view.

House members unanimously showered Farzandeh with supportive rhetoric, promising further engagement, which would include a planned visit to Tehran.

Lawmaker Tantowi Yahya said that the Commission would urge the Foreign Ministry to play a role in the inspection of Iran’s nuclear sites in an effort to prove to the world that US and Israeli-led allegations were not true.

“As a neutral and an influential country, Indonesia has not yet played a role,” Tantowi said. The Commission’s chairman, Mahfudz Siddiq, said that Indonesia would oppose any repressive actions taken by the US or Israel that were based on false evidence, such as the US-led military invasion of Iraq.

“They cannot do the same thing to other nations,” he said.

The Indonesia Center for Democracy, Defense and Diplomacy (IC3D) director, Begi Hersutanto, said the meeting with lawmakers was an attempt to encourage Indonesia’s engagement through domestic political pressure. “That is because Iran has yet to receive a concrete response from the Indonesian government.”

Indonesia had no reason not to act as a conflict mediator, Begi said. Iran and Indonesia have both ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), thus it was natural for both countries to work together on nuclear matters, he said.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Michael Tene said he could not comment on Iran’s request for Indonesia’s monitoring, pending further study of the matter.

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