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      EU Trip to Iran to Go Ahead Despite Israeli Pressure

      The European Union is going ahead with sending a "humanitarian" delegation to Iran, despite Israeli efforts to stop it.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 10/19/2012, 6:16 AM

      Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
      Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
      Flash 90

      The European Union is going ahead with sending a delegation to Iran, despite Israeli efforts to stop it.

      Kol Yisrael radio reported on Thursday night that after a heated debate in Brussels, the EU parliament decided to send representatives to Tehran on an official visit next weekend.

      A source in the European parliament was quoted in the report as having said that the delegation will include nine members of parliament representing all parties except for one. The delegation will be headed by Tarja Cronberg from Finland Tarja, a member of the EU Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

      The five-day trip by the 15-member delegation from six countries is scheduled for October 27, and the visit was described as “humanitarian.”

      Israel tried to pressure Europe to cancel the visit, saying the visit means the EU is sending mixed signals to Tehran.

      Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem told Kol Yisrael that the visit means that the EU is sending a contradictory message to Tehran: On the one hand the EU just imposed new sanctions on the Islamic Republic, and on the other hand it is attempting to hold a political dialogue with the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

      The Vienna-based Stop the Bomb coalition also urged the cancellation of the trip, saying, “Considering the given situation, in which the Iranian regime unwaveringly cherishes its nuclear program, continuously repeats its threats of annihilation towards Israel, represses by brute force every movement of the opposition in Iran and directly participates in quelling the protests in Syria, this visit would set the worst signal possible and subvert the Iranian opposition."

      On Wednesday, Senate Democrats strongly urged their European Union counterparts to cancel the trip, saying it would send “the wrong message at this particularly sensitive time.”