Jordanian MPs advised not to attend Iranian opposition conference in France
Text of report by Jordanian newspaper Al-Dustur on 7 December
Article by Dr Nabil al-Sharif: "This Is Not How Jordan’s Interests Are Served"
A number of members of the House of Representatives plan to accept the invitation of the organization Friends of Iran Committee at the EU to attend a conference that will be held in France to support the Iranian opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization [MKO]. Maryam Rajavi, leader of the MKO, will be a key speaker at the conference.
Around 40 MPs have been invited, and a number of them will attend this conference next week. In view of this, we have the right to ask about the benefit that our country will reap from these meetings.
Some members of the House of Representatives have previously accepted the MKO’s invitation to attend its conferences in the European capitals over the past months. Following every meeting, Iran used to summon our ambassador to Iran present to him an official note of protest at some Jordanian MPs’ attendance of a conference for an organization that opposes the Iranian regime. Also every time, the government used to reply that the House of Representatives is its own master and that the participation of MPs has nothing to do with the official Jordanian position.
However, the strangest thing is that some MPs have justified their participation in these conferences, from which Jordan does not reap any benefit, by saying that it is a "personal participation." Would these invitations, whose full expenses are borne by the inviting parties, have been sent to them had they not been members of the Jordanian house of Representatives?
It is time we spoke frankly about this issue, based on the fact that a member of parliament represents the Jordanian people in everything he says and does. When 30 or 40 MPs participate in any internal or external activity, then this definitely means that there is a certain official or popular position towards the issue in question, and the participants in these activities cannot weasel out of this by saying that they are only expressing a personal position. The only "benefit" that Jordan reaps from the participation of MPs in the MKO’s activities is straining relations with Tehran without any reason and laying obstacles to developing relations between the two countries.
We are not saying this in order to defend the positions of Iran, but we are saying it out of concern for Jordan’s interests. Had the disagreement with Iran been over principled issues, we would have blessed the positions of MPs and pressed on their hands in confronting Iran. However, we are faced with political (and not personal) positions, which are against Jordan and of which Jordan is innocent. What does more injustice to Jordan than this?
We continue to count on the wisdom of MPs and their loyalty, which we do not question, to Jordan’s interests. It is unreasonable that we should allow external parties, whatever their agendas, to infiltrate inside our parliament and to achieve their political objectives. The interest of Jordan should be our yardstick in everything we say or do.
Source: Al-Dustur, Amman, in Arabic 7 Dec 08
BBC Monitoring Middle East