Statement No. 19
In protest to Khatami's visit, an Italian deputy refuses to participate in Parliament's voting

Thursday, March 11, the government of Italy presented a bill to the parliament requesting budget to provide for the expenses of a human rights committee. The bill was subsequently put to vote. In the course of debates over this bill, the Hon. Federico Orlando, member of Parliament from Italia dei Valori Party --a member of the ruling coalition-- who supports the Iranian Resistance, protested the clerical regime's president's visit to Italy.

Mr. Orlando said: "Mr. President, I will not participate in the voting." In part of his remarks referring to Khatami's trip, he said: "Taking votes in this case, just in the wake of meetings on this and other side of the Tevere river (i.e. Italy and the Vatican) in search of trade and oil ties with persons who cannot be called messengers of human rights, is inherently contradictory. We cannot soothe our souls and consider ourselves loyal to freedom by just voting and think that we are serving human rights around the globe. I believe, voting is an excuse to conceal our tainted conscience. For this reason, I will not vote for this bill."

Mr. Orlando is one of the 320 members of the Italian Parliament (majority) who wrote to the Prime Minister and protested the visit to Italy by the criminal president of the clerical regime. He also expressed his solidarity with the glorious demonstration of 5,000 Iranians in Rome.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
March 15, 1999

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