A leading Iranian dissident on Tuesday accused the West of ignoring human rights questions in exchange for stronger trade relations with Tehran, a strategy he said has harmed democratic forces in the country.
Akbar Ganji, in the midst of a world tour to raise awareness of alleged human rights violations in Iran, also warned against a possible military intervention to overthrow the regime of conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying it would destroy the country and encourage fundamentalism, rather than establishing democracy.
"Time and again, the Western world was in its relations with Iran only concerned with trade advantages, with oil. This means that the democratic forces in our country are in difficulties," Ganji told a European Parliament committee.
"Human rights infringements are being completely ignored, they're just on the agenda. Our expectations are higher than that. We, people like myself, have high hopes in human rights, democracy," he said through an interpreter.