The first visit to Iran by EU Foreign Affairs Representative Catherine Ashton, on March 8-9, 2014, was expected to signal a further thaw in Europe-Iran relations. However, Ashton sparked fury among regime circles by holding an unauthorized meeting at the Austrian embassy with seven Iranian women active in human rights. One of the seven was Gohar Eshghi, the mother of Sattar Beheshti, an Iranian blogger who was tortured to death in prison. The meeting sparked demonstrations against Ashton, and anti-Ashton billboards were even put up, including one equating her with Saddam Hussein (see below).
Ashton merged with Saddam (Image: Yjc.ir, March 12, 2014)
Among those who expressed anger and contempt for Ashton was regime official Hassan Rahimpour Azghadi, a member of the Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution. Addressing an audience at the Payame Noor University in Mashhad, he called her an "old lady" and UN Secretary General Ban-Ki moon "a puppet". He added that the West's demand for Iranian concessions would not stop at the nuclear program; if the Iranians give in, the Westerners, who are "a bunch of animals," will eventually tell the Iranians to respect the rights of homosexuals. "The Koran instructs us to preserve our honor and not to let them control us," he said.
The following are excerpts from a MEMRI TV clip of the speech,  which was aired on Iran's Channel 1 and was posted on the Internet on March 16, 2014.
Hassan Rahimpour Azghadi: What’s the name of the lady from that [EU] thing? Ashton... Sister Ashton... The hijab she is wearing doesn’t look good. It used to look better. In the past, what’s-her-name would mend her hijab. She used to pull it forward, but the last time I saw her, she had pulled it back, and her clothes didn’t look so great. I don’t look at her as a sister anymore. I look at her as a mother.
She came here yesterday, met in secret with a group of people, and then she said: We didn’t deal with the nuclear issue.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is a puppet. You know that, right? They inflate him in the morning, and remove the air in the evening. The Americans provide him with texts, and tell him what to say today and what to say tomorrow. Then he reads the texts out loud to them, to make sure he gets it right.
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Look, this is what the [Westerners] are like. If we give them an inch, tomorrow they will demand that we suspect our entire nuclear program, the next day, they will tell us how to practice our religion, and the day after that, they will tell us to respect the rights of homosexuals.
Obama said to the president of Angola in Africa: "You must declare that you legally accept homosexuals, or else we will impose sanctions upon you." That’s what they are like. They stop at nothing.
That’s what they are like. They are a bunch of animals. The Koran instructs us to preserve our honor and not to let them control us. That old lady [Ashton] came to Iran... I really don’t know when she’ll die... She went to meet in secret with that group of people. I noticed that nobody in the government has taken responsibility for this meeting. Have you noticed this too?
The foreign ministry declared that they had been told nothing about this. She’s your guest. If you didn’t know about it, then you have a problem, but if you did now and you are lying, then you have a double problem.
To view the clip, click below:
See MEMRI Special Dispatch no. 5057, "Iranian Blogger Who Told Supreme Leader Khamenei 'Your Judicial System... Is Nothing But A Slaughterhouse' Tortured To Death In Prison," November 19, 2012.
 See MEMRI-TV Clip No. 4198, "Iranian Official Azghadi: Ashton an Old Lady, Ban Ki-moon a Puppet, Westerners a Bunch of Animals," March 16, 2014.