On Wednesday, 7 February, the 39th anniversary of the 1979 anti-monarchic revolution, a special meeting in support of the Iran uprising was held in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Dozens of MEPs from various political groups participated and spoke about the nationwide protests which shook Iran and spread to 142 cities and to all 31 provinces.

The meeting was chaired by Gérard Deprez (ALDE) and Tunne Kelam (EPP). Dr Alejo Vidal-Quadras, a former vice-president of the European Parliament, and Farzin Hashemi from the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), were invited as guest speakers.

The following points were determined by the MEPs to be of particular importance:

The people of Iran, especially the younger generation, have made it clear that they are fed up with the Islamic fundamentalist rule and want regime change. Many shouted “down with dictator,” “down with Khamenei” and “down with Rouhani.”

The backlash by the Iranian regime has been violent, with 8,000 arrests and at least 12 deaths under torture. Dozens were killed in the streets. The head of the organization of Iranian prisons has confirmed the arrest of 5,000 protesters. The European Union must act. The silence of EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and other EU officials is unacceptable. The people of Iran expect Europe to take their side.

Iran witnessed a new round of protests on 1 and 2 February. Iran’s Interior Minister has said that up to 150 protests are taking place daily. In many cities, there were anti-government demonstrations and many clashes with the repressive forces of the regime. Every day, strikes and protests are taking place.

The economy is in crisis. Unemployment and unprecedented costs of living are particularly troublesome. The value of the official currency has dropped more than 15 percent in the last month.

Many senior leaders and officials of the regime from its different factions have spoken about the role of the main opposition PMOI [People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran] in the uprising. When the first protests began in Mashhad on 28 December, the representative of the supreme leader said the people came to the streets in response to a call by PMOI “whose leader is a woman.” According to Agence France Press, On 2 January, Rouhani called President Macron and asked him to take action against a Paris-based Iranian opposition, which he accused of fomenting the recent protests.… On 9 January, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, said the PMOI had organized the uprising, and threatened to execute the protesters.

Considering the blatant violations of human rights in Iran and the imminent threat to the lives of the detainees, MEPs expressed their support for the recent statement by NCRI president-elect Maryam Rajavi in the Council of Europe on 24 January 2018 who had called upon the EU, European governments and other international institutions to adopt effective measures and binding decisions to compel the religious dictatorship ruling Iran to release the prisoners of the uprising, uphold freedom of expression and association, end repression against women and repeal the laws imposing the compulsory veil.

The execution of a young man last week who was arrested when only 15, was another shock. The European MPs insisted that the EU refrain from making deals with companies affiliated with the IRGC and other repressive agencies. The Iranian regime must be put on notice that new human rights sanctions could be imposed by Europe. Human rights in Iran cannot be compromised or marginalized on the pretext of political considerations or the nuclear deal. Any expansion of political and economic relations with Iran must be conditional on the release of prisoners and a halt to executions.

Gérard Deprez MEP

Chair, Friends of a Free Iran, European parliament, Strasbourg

MEPs participating in today’s meeting included: Franc BOGOVIČ, Cristian BUȘOI, David CAMPBELL BANNERMAN, Pál CSÁKY, Mark DEMESMAEKER, Stefan ECK, José Inácio FARIA, Eduard KUKAN, Svetoslav MALINOV, Anthea MCINTYRE, Jozo RADOŠ, Petri SARVAMAA, Jaromír ŠTĚTINA, Patrizia TOIA, Bogdan WENTA, Laima Liucija ANDRIKIENĖ, Beatriz BECERRA, Arne GERICKE, María Teresa GIMÉNEZ BARBAT, Francis ZAMMIT DIMECH and Milan ZVER.

Friends of a Free Iran (FoFI) is an informal group in the European Parliament which was formed in 2003 and enjoys the active support of many MEPs from various political groups



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