As Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took his oath of office on Wednesday, his security forces were arresting peaceful demonstrators in front of the parliament. But this president has little in the way of democratic legitimacy in light of clear indications of vote manipulation during the June 12 election. In order to compensate for this, the Iranian government has turned to the use of force. This is totally unacceptable.
Though the United States and the European Union must continue to negotiate with the Iranian leadership over its disputed nuclear programme, Europe has to avoid taking any steps that would help legitimise Ahmadinejad's government. Sending a high-ranking delegation to the inauguration conveys the wrong message to the democratic movement in Iran. Leading members of opposition – Rafsanjani, Moussavi, Khatami, and Karroubi – refused to take part in the official ceremony led by the country's supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The German government and the EU must continue to make clear they will not accept the use of violence and the persecution of the opposition movement in Iran. All imprisoned demonstrators must be released immediately. And the unfair show trials against members of the opposition – which clearly used torture to produce confessions – only destroy what little legitimacy the Iranian government still has.
Kerstin Müller is the parliamentary foreign policy spokeswoman for the Greens. Translation by The Local.