In letter to D'Alema, majority of Italian deputies demand cancellation of Khatami's visit to Italy
- 320 members of Parliament support Mojahedin, Iranian Resistance, say Khatami's visit will hurt feelings of Iranian people

At a press conference yesterday at the Parliament of Italy, members of Parliament declared that the majority of Italian deputies addressed a letter to Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema, urging him to cancel Khatami's visit to Italy, scheduled for the first half of March.

The Italian MPs reiterated, "So long as there is no practical improvement in the situation of human rights in Iran, and the Iranian government has not displayed any honest inclination to this end, hosting Mohammad Khatami will only hurt the feelings of the people of Iran... The Iranian regime is in its worst political, social and economic condition. Pursuing a policy of rapprochement with the mullahs is like betting on a losing horse."

Senator Espanso, Representatives Nardini, Orlando and Matranga, Ms. Mitra Baqeri, NCR representative in Italy, and Mr. Reza Olia, member of the National Council of Resistance, took part in this conference. The Italian MPs reiterated that the overthrow of the clerical regime and the victory of the National Council of Resistance and its President-elect Maryam Rajavi is the only way to establish a democratic government in Iran which would in turn bring peace and friendship to the region.

In their letter to the Prime Minister, the Italian MPs pointed to Khatami's 10-year service to the Khomeini regime as minister of guidance, and his silence towards the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, and condemned the continued violations of human rights under Khatami, including continued use of execution, stoning and torture.

The statement reads in part: "U.S. congressional majority issued a statement in September which views the Iranian Resistance and its pioneering Mojahedin as legitimate. Before that, the majority of deputies in the parliament of U.K., Norway, Luxembourg, Switzerland and a large number of our colleagues in other European countries had issued similar statements expressing their support for the goals and programs of the National Council of Resistance for the establishment of democracy and a secular government in Iran which is the demand of the people of Iran.

The Iranian Resistance Leader Massoud Rajavi described this decisive announcement of view by the majority of Italian MPs in opposition to Khatami's trip to their country and in support of the Iranian Resistance as indication of the awake conscience of the people of Italy and their representatives who beyond every economic and political interest or consideration, give priority to the defense of human rights and democracy and opposition to repression and terrorism.

Mr. Rajavi added: The view expressed by the majority of Italian MPs clearly shows that Khatami's trip to Italy is not legitimate. Not only it is against the highest interests of the Iranian people, but the people of Italy also condemn it.

Pointing to the long record of the Italian Prime Minister in defense of human rights and democracy in Iran, Mr. Rajavi expressed hope that with the cancellation of Khatami's trip to Italy, he would not allow the clerical regime to take advantage of such visit towards suppression of the people of Iran and export of terrorism.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
February 26, 1999

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