An event held at the European Parliament on Wednesday saw elected representatives of European states express their solidarity with the Iranian Resistance. The President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, Maryam Rajavi, was in attendance at the meeting focusing on formulating a cohesive EU policy on Iran relations in the wake of the July 2015 nuclear accord. Chairman of the Friends of a Free Iran inter-parliamentary group, MEP Gerard Deprez, led the meeting entitled: “Post-JCPOA Policy on Iran.”
The parliamentary gathering occurred just 5 days after legislative elections were held in Iran. Ms. Rajavi branded these elections a “sham,” held without the participation of any opposition groups and among only former and incumbent officials pre-approved by the mullah leadership.
Significantly, Ms. Rajavi focused on the meddling of Iran in regional conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon as fuelling instability in the region, and providing further evidence discrediting closer European- Iranian ties since the signing of the nuclear accord last summer. “All [the regime’s] factions share common interests in domestic suppression and plunder of the public’s wealth, as well as in exportation of terrorism,” she stated.
In her most defiant moments, Ms. Rajavi criticised the European Union’s turning a blind eye to the continued human rights violations in Iran. “The failure to adopt a decisive policy on human rights policy on human rights abuses in Iran will embolden the mullahs to resume their bomb-making project and step up their warmongering in foreign lands, particularly the genocide of the people of Syria.”
Ms. Rajavi recommended that correcting the human rights agenda become a necessary condition for any future EU-Iran relations, not only for its moral imperative, but to ensure wider regional and global stability.
Mr. Deprez invited speakers from the floor to share their thoughts on EU relations with Iran post-nuclear deal. A number of MEPs expressed outrage at the favourable treatment of Rouhani during his European tour last November.
Particularly, MEPs drew attention to the infringement of women’s rights inside the mullah regime; Daniela Aiuto, MEP from Italy, stated that she was heartened to see the leading role played by women inside the Iranian Resistance movement – a stark contrast to the absence of women from positions of political leadership in Iran. With less than one week until International Women’s Day, Ms. Aiuto expressed support for Iranian women resistors struggling against government oppression.
Similarly, Julie Ward, MEP for the British Labour Party, and member of the EU Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, said that Iranian women were at the forefront of social movements advocating for democracy and equality in their country. Ms. Ward spoke specifically on the plight of Iranian bloggers and cartoonists, mentioning Narges Mohammadi, a veteran human rights activist and defender of freedom of expression, who was arrested in May 2015 on as yet unknown charges.
Despite her criticisms of the nuclear accord, Ms. Rajavi did express her hopes that this parliamentary meeting would send a clear message to the Rouhani regime that their human rights abuses have not gone unchecked by European powers. She stated that the Iranian leadership is ultimately in a vulnerable position given that any change in the current regime would “lead to its general weakness and entirely paralyze it.” This fragility was demonstrated clearly in the “so-called elections” that took place last Friday where no opposition groups were allowed to stand.
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