TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's official news agency is reporting the country has criticized awards granted to Iranian dissidents by European Parliament, calling them "politically" motivated.
The European Parliament awarded the 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to jailed lawyer and human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh and dissident Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi. The Sunday report by IRNA quotes Ramin Mehmanparast, spokesman of Iran's Foreign Ministry, as saying the European Union and its related bodies pursues "political" purposes in giving awards to Iranian dissidents.
In addition to U.N. sanctions, the EU enforced an embargo on Iranian oil imports in July, as pressure over Iran's suspect nuclear weapons program. Mehmanparast also charged that the EU ignores Israel's crimes against Palestinians as well as EU violations of rights of immigrants and Muslims in European countries.