Vice President of the European Parliament
A lot has been said about the nuclear agreement signed between EU3+3 and Iran in summer. But problems with Iran are far from being over. One area that should be of major concern is Iran’s conduct in the area of human rights.
Iran under President Rouhani has carried out some 2,000 executions over the past two years, according to opposition figures.
Some victims who were lucky enough not to be hung on giant cranes (incidentally manufactured by European countries which trade with Iran) whose purpose is not to build, but to destroy lives, have suffered forced amputations and blinding.
A few weeks ago, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein stated the following:
"I urge Iran to make commensurate progress in human rights. Accelerated use of the death penalty, concerns about the right to a fair trial, and the continued detention of journalists, bloggers and human rights defenders remain major causes for concern."
While the U.N. has recognized just how bad the human rights situation in Iran is, the EU has chosen to ignore this issue totally in its dealing with the Tehran.
The Iranian issue goes beyond their domestic torture, unjust imprisonment, or murder of innocent Iranians; it extends throughout the region and even the world. Despite sanctions that were crippling to Iran’s economy in general, the regime doubled the budget of their Revolutionary Guards force, whose primary role is to carry out terror attacks. They’ve done just that, fighting in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen either directly, or through sectarian militias. Their support for the Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad and Nouri Al-Maliki in Iraq, both of whom were systematically killing and repressing the Sunnis in recent years, paved the way for extremist groups like ISIS to grow and forced millions of people to flee and seek refuge in Europe
All indications point out that after the nuclear deal and the corresponding economic windfall, these policies will not stop, or even will not slow down. All of their regional wars will continue to rage, they will push the same brand of sectarian violence and terror and they’ve even sought to expand their terror campaigns.
Iran’s neighbours in the gulf have witnessed new terror attempts by the mullahs. In August, Bahrain was lucky enough to apprehend five suspects in connection to a bombing that killed two police officers and wounded six others. Just a day later in Kuwait authorities seized an enormous arms shipment containing a total of 19,000 kg of ammunition, 144 kg of explosives, 68 weapons and 204 grenades. The Kuwaiti police also arrested a terror cell sponsored by Iran and avoided what could have been an unbelievable level of carnage.
The Iranian regime has made their policy very clear and they’ve stood firmly behind it since 1979. Their policy is one of domestic repression, regional terror, global terror and on of the most extreme brands of Islamic radicalism that exists. In contrast, the European Union has been unclear in its policy, saying it supporting democracy, human rights and freedom, yet dealing with some of the worst offenders in each of these categories while ignoring their record.
In the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg on 9 September, the EU Foreign policy chief, Ms Federica Mogherini attended to speak just on the nuclear deal. A dozen MEPs strongly criticized her for not mentioning a word about human rights violations, repression against women and public executions during her joint press conference with Iranian foreign minister in Tehran.
In Europe we are all proud to have long abolished death penalty. Yet the EU High Representative seems to have no problem engaging with the worse executioner state in the world not even mentioning a word about these inhumane punishments. As elected lawmakers we have to defend our European values and we insist that any expansion of relationship with Iran must be conditioned to end of executions and a clear progress on human rights and situation of women.