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EU Must Hold Iran Accountable for Human Rights Abuses

The European Commission proposed an EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime in October, intended to streamline the process to sanction human rights abusers, but in the speech explaining situations that Europe had responded late to, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen didn’t mention Iran, indicating that the EU is again prioritizing appeasement of the mullahs over human rights.

On multiple occasions, the EU has been quiet on Iran’s human rights abuses, which have not exactly been a massive secret. Indeed, the Iranian Resistance, human rights groups, and even other countries have stepped up to condemn the mullahs for various acts but the EU is set on preserving the nuclear deal. This previous silence raises the question about whether the EU would challenge Iran in the future when the regime commits another crime against humanity.

In fact, let’s just look at a few of Iran’s abuses that the regime has ignored.

The 2019 massacre of protesters: Last November, the regime shot dead 1,500 peaceful protesters in the streets, shut down the internet to prevent reports getting out, and arrested 20,000 more protesters. This was confirmed by Reuters and Amnesty International.

The 2017 massacre of protesters: During this uprising, the regime killed a couple of hundred protesters in the streets, but thousands more were arrested, with some tortured to death in prison and others executed.

The 1988 massacre of political prisoners: On the order of regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini, the regime formed Death Commissions to preside over show trials of the political prisoners in an attempt to eliminate the opposition. They have continued to harass survivors and relatives who seek justice, as well as hide evidence by destroying mass graves. While many groups have spoken of this over the years, seven UN human rights experts asked the regime for explanations in September. The mullahs’ ignored this and the experts advised that the international community conduct an independent investigation.

The Iranian Resistance wrote: “Even as Iranian authorities have continued their crackdowns on dissent, punishing participants in the 2019 uprising and pre-emptively arresting activists around the time of the uprising’s one-year anniversary… EU policy discussions have ignored these developments in favor of a narrow focus that puts the 2015 Iran nuclear deal ahead of all other matters.”

The EU’s silence is not only dangerous for Iranians but also Europeans because the failure to address the mullahs’ abuses made them feel emboldened to plot and attempt terrorism on the continent several times over the past few years, although only once has it resulted in a trial.

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EU Must Hold Iran Accountable for Human Rights Abuses