Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

April 16, 2008 17:16 ET

Simon Wiesenthal Center Urges Swiss to Cancel Multi-Billion Dollar Deal With Tehran

TORONTO, ONTARIO and LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA--(Marketwire - April 16, 2008) - Senior officials from the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) in the US and the Canadian-based Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) are urging the Swiss government to cancel an $18 billion gas deal with Iran.

"This ill-conceived and ill-timed deal, signed in the presence of the Swiss Foreign Minister, bolsters the Iranian regime and weakens the International Community's efforts to use economic sanctions to force Iran to stop its nuclearization program," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Associate Dean of SWC and Leo Adler, Director of National Affairs of FSWC, in a statement released following their meeting yesterday with Swiss State Secretary, Michael Ambuhl, in Bern.

"Further, press reports indicate that the bulk of the Iranian gas is destined for Italy and not, as was asserted, a way for Switzerland to lessen its reliance on Russian gas. So the question remains as to whose strategic and national interests are being served," they added. "The Iranian regime was dangerous enough before this deal, but if it stands, it will only strengthen their resolve to pursue their nuclear program and continue to torpedo peace efforts in the Middle East through their terrorist proxies."

During their two hour meeting, Rabbi Cooper and Mr. Adler also urged Switzerland to oppose the avalanche of one-sided anti-Israel resolutions being rubber stamped by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"Since the Council's inception, it has passed 20 resolutions - 19 against Israel and one on Burma - but nothing on the genocide in Darfur or the current crisis in Tibet. It's time for countries like Switzerland to reassess support for a body whose mandate it is to bolster human liberty but whose selective and biased actions make a mockery of human rights," they said.

Rabbi Cooper and Mr. Adler also raised this problem with Louise Arbour, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, at a meeting in Geneva earlier this week.

About Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies is a Canadian human rights organization dedicated to fostering tolerance and understanding through community involvement, educational outreach and social action. It has 25,000 members across Canada, and confronts important contemporary issues including racism, antisemitism, terrorism and genocide. The Center is affiliated with the world-wide, Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, an accredited Non-Government Organization with status at international agencies, including the United Nations, UNESCO, OSCE and the Council of Europe. With over 400,000 members of all faiths around the world, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has offices in New York, Miami, Paris, Jerusalem, Buenos Aires and Toronto. Simon Wiesenthal died in 2005 after devoting his life to preserving the memories of the victims of the Holocaust, while simultaneously seeking justice for the war criminals. Visit: www.fswc.ca.

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