On Thursday 3 April, the European Parliament adopted a moderately critical resolution on Iran causing a hysterical and unprecedented hostile reaction from the mullah's regime. Many Iranian government officials, including the so called “moderate” Foreign Minister, the Speaker of the Majlis (the Iranian Parliament), the chair of the Iranian Parliament’s Security and Intelligence committee, Tehran’s Friday Prayer Leader, numerous members of the Majlis and the overwhelming majority of the media, have mounted relentless attacks on the EU, questioning why the European Parliament has dared to include human rights violations and the anti-democratic behaviour of the regime of Iran in the on-going nuclear discussions.
The hostile reaction is a clear indication that the survival of the Iranian regime is very much dependent on the continuing systematic and grave violation of human rights and that any relaxation of such oppressive activities would accelerate the regime’s overthrow. Indeed the universal condemnation of the EU resolution has demonstrated clearly that all factions within Iran, including the so called “moderate”, “extremist”, “pragmatic”, or “centrist” political blocs, are all colluding in the repression and violation of the Iranian people’s human rights and are completely subservient to the Supreme Leader.
The hysterical reaction of the Iranian regime also underscores the need to keep up the pressure on human rights during all negotiations on the mullahs' attempts to construct nuclear weapons. It would be a grave error to relax this pressure in the hope of appeasing the allegedly 'moderate' forces in Iran.
It is reported that the Greek ambassador to Iran, representing the rotating presidency of the EU, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry office in Tehran and was given an official letter of protest in respect of the April 3rd resolution. Iran has called the resolution “unacceptable and false” and “against the common interests of Islamic Republic of Iran and the European Union”.
Mohammad Javad Zarif the Iranian Foreign Minister in a speech in the Iranian Parliament said: “The European Parliament plays a very minor and insignificant role in European politics. The European Parliament is not in a position nor has moral ground to impose its views on other countries….. the government shall not allow any European parliamentary delegation to visit Iran with the conditions set in this European parliament resolution.”
In a rash response to the EU resolution the Iranian Parliament adopted a declaration stating that the Iranian government “must rethink its economic and political policies toward the countries that have signed this resolution”. The Iranian declaration also mentions that: “Iran shall disallow establishment of any office by the European Parliament which has to do with human rights or any such related issues” and that the regime will “re-evaluate Iran’s collaboration with the UN Human Rights Council”.
The leader of Tehran’s Friday prayer, Movahedi Kermani, referring to the possibility of the EU opening an office in Tehran, and mentioning the occupation of the US embassy in 1979, said: “The Iranian people will not allow the opening of another spy den in Iran. One should remember and learn from what happened to the American spying den. As the American spies were blindfolded and handcuffed, they too should learn from it”. He further added: "… They say elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran are inconsistent with international standards… they brazenly command that Ahmed Shaheed, this anti-Iranian element who is the mouthpiece of the world arrogance, should be permitted to come to Iran and instigate sedition. The Europeans say the parliamentary delegations’ visits to Iran must be accompanied with the permission to visit seditionists and anti-revolutionaries; what hideous expectations!” (Tasnim, the terrorist Qods Force news agency - April 4)
Likewise, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, the commander of the Basij force, called the EU MEPs worse than “four legged animals”. He said that: “in their resolution they tell us that we have no right to execute people and that they want to have an office in Iran; it is none of your damned business to open up a bureau in Iran.” (The state-run Tabnak website - April 3, 2014)
Struan Stevenson MEP
Chair, Friends of a Free Iran