Press release- Strasbourg- 16 February 2017
On the occasion of the 38th anniversary of the 1979 Iranian revolution, Friends of a Free Iran (FOFI) group at the European Parliament held a conference in Strasbourg on Wednesday 15 February 2017, chaired by MEP Gérard Deprez. The meeting was well attended by many members of the European Parliament. Mohammad Mohaddessin from the Iranian democratic opposition was the guest speaker. Mr Mohaddessin, a former political prisoner under the shah’s dictatorship, is a renowned writer of several books on Iran and Islamic fundamentalism and chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee of the political coalition NCRI. He gave a very interesting update and analysis of the current situation in Iran and prospects for a democratic change.
Overall seventeen MEPs from various political groups spoke in this meeting. They focused on the violation of human rights in Iran and urged the EU and European governments to condition their relationships with this theocratic regime to a clear progress on human rights and a halt to executions.
Iran under the “moderate” government of President Rouhani is the number state-executioner in the world per capita. In public comments on Iranian TV, Rouhani had stressed that executions “are either God’s commandments or laws made by parliament that belongs to the people and therefore must be implemented.”
MEPs were critical of the current policy of the EU and EEAS towards Iran where economic interests have been given priority over human rights.
The speakers touched on the growing role of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) which runs a big chunk of the Iranian economy. Many of the companies and business in Iran are either owned by IRGC or affiliated to IRGC. So when the European governments and the EU High Representative, Mrs Mogherini, are encouraging to invest in Iran after the nuclear deal, they are really risking dealing with IRGC.
IRGC has been active and fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and also in Syria in killing the Syrian opposition to save Bashar Assad and has helped create a variety of Shiite militant proxy groups. Its crimes and what they have done to the Sunnis, is very much the same as ISIS. MEPs called for IRGC to be designated as a terrorist organization which must be immediately expelled from Syria, Iraq and other countries in the region.
Many MEPs expressed their support for the opposition PMOI and the political coalition, NCRI and the 10 point plan of the opposition leader, Mrs Maryam Rajavi, who calls for a secular democratic Iran and the abolishment of death penalty as the alternative to the current regime. The successful transfer of Iranian dissidents from camp Liberty in Iraq to Europe was also discussed in the conference.
The so called presidential “elections” in May was discussed, where no opposition candidates are allowed to take part, which has no resemblance to any elections in democratic countries.
Gérard Deprez MEP
Chair, Friends of a Free Iran
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