Press release- Brussels- Friends of a Free Iran in European Parliament – 06 December 2017: European Lawmakers Condemn human rights violations in Iran, Express support for Iranian democratic opposition

On Wednesday, 6 December 2017, on the initiative of the Friends of a Free Iran inter-group at the European Parliament, which enjoys the support of several hundred MEPs from various political groups, a conference on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day was held at the European Parliament in Brussels. The key note speaker was Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Dozens of MEPs and a large number of parliamentary assistants, diplomats and journalists were present. The Scottish veteran politician Struan Stevenson was also one of the guest speakers.
Gérard Deprez, Belgian MEP (ALDE) who chaired the conference said: “We call on the EU, especially the High Representative Mogherini to put human rights and women rights first when dealing with Iran. We are bitterly disappointed of her approach who is just obsessed and occupied with the nuclear deal or encouraging western companies to go to Iran. We urge her and also urge our European governments, including my own government in Belgium, to condition relations with Iran to a suspension of executions and a clear progress on human rights.”
Maryam Rajavi said: “The regime has already exhausted its strategic resources. Economically, they are on the verge of bankruptcy. Socially, they have become ever more isolated. They failed in their strategy of destroying their main opposition and could not prevent the relocation of PMOI members out of Camp Liberty prison in Iraq.”
Mrs Rajavi added that in such circumstances, the regime has two means of survival: more suppression and executions in Iran and stepping up its meddling abroad. This reflects the regime’s major internal crisis which it tries to cover up by expanding its influence in the region. Indeed, it seeks to put up a hollow show of force to discourage the international community from adopting a decisive policy against it.
The regime’s leaders explicitly say Syria, Iraq and Yemen are the regime’s strategic depth and if they wrap up and leave those countries they would risk being overthrown. She reiterated, “As long as the international community fails to hold this regime accountable for its destructive behaviour, the mullahs will carry on with their dangerous adventures. The solution is showing firmness, not giving concessions. The EU has unfortunately abandoned its values in order to promote trade with the mullahs. It has turned a blind eye on the gross violations of human rights in Iran.”
Ryszard Czarnecki, Vice-President of the European Parliament, said: “As long as executions continue in Iran, as long as freedom of speech is repressed in Iran, as long as religious minorities including Christians and Sunni Muslims are repressed in Iran, we cannot and we must not have a normal relation with this regime. Our informal group, Friends of a Free Iran, under the leadership of my distinguished colleague Gerard Deprez, has always said that in our relations with Iran, Europe must put human rights first. We must not compromise on this.” He added: “The Iranian
opposition is really feared by the Iranian regime which spends lot of energy and millions of euros against the democratic opposition under the leadership of Mrs Rajavi.”
The members of European Parliament condemned the systematic human rights abuses in Iran, the regime’s ballistic missile projects and meddling and warmongering in the region. Many expressed support for Mrs. Rajavi’s 10-point platform for a future Iran. The MEPs reiterated the following:
1. Europe must not turn a blind eye to the widespread human rights violations in Iran. Trips to Tehran by European officials and MEPs are in practice to the benefit of the human rights violators in Iran. Such relations must be based on an improvement of the human rights situation in Iran. The regime’s record of executions, torture and murders over the past 38 years and in particular the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988 must be referred to the United Nations Security Council, and the officials of the regime and those responsible for these crimes must be held accountable.
2. All signs suggest that the Iranian regime is facing widespread crises. The Iranian people have shown through repeated protests that they seek regime change. The policy of appeasement adopted by the United States and Europe in the past three decades has acted as the main roadblock to change. It is high time for the European Union to side with the Iranian people in their legitimate desire to achieve democratic change. Recognizing the NCRI is essential for ending and compensating for the previous catastrophic policies. Experience has shown that this regime is unable to reform. Last May, the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei warned, “Take note that a change of behaviour is no different to a change of regime.”
3. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) controls the main part of Iran’s economy. The IRGC has brought starvation and poverty to the Iranian people and it is responsible for the massacre of the peoples of Syria, Iraq and Yemen. All economic deals with the IRGC and its affiliated companies must be halted, and the IRGC must be blacklisted.
4. The IRGC and its affiliated militias are the main cause of crisis and terrorism in the region. Not least following the defeat of ISIS, the IRGC is the main threat to peace and stability in the region; therefore it is vital to expel the IRGC and its mercenary militias from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Afghanistan and to prevent it from sending weapons and forces to these countries.
The MEPs called on the EU High Representative to base any relations with Iran on an improvement of the human rights situation, halt to executions and an end to its meddling in neighbouring countries and its ballistic missile program; otherwise such relations would run counter to Europe’s values and to peace and stability in the region and the world.
Office of Gérard Deprez MEP Chair, Friends of a Free Iran European Parliament
Friends of a Free Iran (FoFI) is an informal group in the European Parliament which was formed in 2003 and enjoys the support of around 300 MEPs from various political groups
Chair: Gérard DEPREZ (ALDE)
Vice-Chairs: Tunne KELAM (EPP), Louis MICHEL (ALDE), Ryszard CZARNECKI EP Vice-President, Eduard KUKAN (EPP), Jan ZAHRADIL (ECR), José BOVÉ (Greens), Marian HARKIN (ALDE) Members of the Board: Jarosław WAŁĘSA (EPP), Emma McCLARKIN (ECR), Beatriz Becerra (ALDE), Jude KIRTON-DARLING (S&D), Richard ASHWORTH (ECR), Stanislav POLČÁK (EPP), Svetoslav MALINOV (EPP), Julie WARD (S&D), Rina Ronja KARI (GUE/NGL), Petri SARVAMAA (EPP),Tadeusz ZWIEFKA (EPP)

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