The visit of Federica Mogherini - Europe’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, to Iran on August 5thstunned the world. She had gone to Tehran at the EU taxpayers’ expense, to celebrate the inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani as he began his second consecutive term in office. Rouhani has been hailed in the West as a moderate and a reformist, despite the fact that more than 3,500 people, including 80 women, have been executed during the four years he has been in office, catapulting Iran into pole position as the world’s number one state executioner per capita. Three days before Mogherini arrived in Tehran, Amnesty international published a 94-page report highlighting the ‘web of oppression’ that pervades Iran and detailing the catastrophic human rights situation in the country. Most international leaders boycotted Rouhani’s inauguration, but this did not deter Mogherini, whose constant refrain of ‘constructive dialogue’ with the mullah’s barbaric regime has begun to sound hollow and ridiculous.

Mogherini’s presence at the ceremony delivered a massive PR scoop for Tehran’s turbaned tyrants. They flocked around her in the parliament building, desperate to take selfies with the EU’s top diplomat who had obligingly worn a headscarf for the occasion. She sadly appears to have forgotten that the Iranian regime treats women as second-class citizens. In Iran’s medieval justice system women are denied basic civil rights. A woman’s testimony in court is worth only half that of a man. Men can unilaterally divorce their wives. Girls as young as 8 can be held to be criminally responsible; they can be legally married at the age of 9. Women can be stoned to death for adultery. Under Iranian law, women must wear the hijab, covering all but their face, hands and feet. They can be lashed for breaking these laws.

Women are banned from attending sporting events and even from riding bicycles! Many thousands of women are in prison, guilty of nothing more than opposing the oppressive mullah’s regime, or attempting to uphold human rights. In the cruel prisons, young women are often singled out for torture and execution. The brutal prison guards rape them before they are hanged, in a twisted attempt to stop them going to heaven! 

This is the reality of life inside the Islamic Republic, a country that has been condemned internationally for supporting Bashar al-Assad’s bloody civil war in Syria, training and financing the brutal Shi’ia militias, which are rampaging through Iraq, sponsoring the Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon and the Houthi rebels in Yemen and exporting war and terror throughout the Middle East. The barbarity of the regime has been recognised by president Trump who has now agreed to blacklist Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary guards Corps, the main sponsors of Iranian terror. But none of this appears to have resonated with Mrs Mogherini, who still naively thinks that the EU can do business with Iran.

President Trump has long recognized the Iranian regime as the Godfather of terror. It is time the EU did likewise. Federica Mogherini’s attendance at Rouhani’s inauguration this month has provided sufficient grounds for her dismissal as the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs. She is clearly unfit to continue in that role. Instead of appeasing the corrupt and murderous dictators in Tehran, the EU should be demanding a full United Nations inquiry into the horrific 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, with Khamenei, Rouhani and their clacque of killer clerics indicted for crimes against humanity and brought for trial before the international courts in The Hague.


Struan Stevenson is president of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA). He was a member of the European Parliament representing Scotland (1999-2014), president of the Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-14) and chairman of Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (2004-14). He is an international lecturer on the Middle East.