2012 Sakharov Prize goes to Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi

Two Iranian imprisoned activists, lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and film director Jafar Panahi, are this year’s joint winners of the European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. They were chosen by president Martin Schulz and political group leaders.

Question:

On one hand, will it somehow influence EU-Iran relations, and on the other hand can Sakharov Prize somehow influence the fate of Iranian dissidents?

Answer:

Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, Chair, Centre for Iranian Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

The Sakharov Prize is unlikely to have an impact on EU-Iran relations which are currently framed, almost exclusively, by the nuclear issue.” This is a great piety because Iranian-European relations go beyond that and include economic, cultural and security interdependencies. The fate of Iranian dissidents as well can only be sufficiently addressed if there is trust and mutual respect between Iran and the EU. While Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi are deserved winners of the Sakharov prize, there should be a concerted effort to foster dialogue with Iran on all matters of mutual interest.

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