MEP Antonio López-Istúriz White, Secretary-General of the European People’s Party, addressed at the 2nd Day of The Free Iran World Summit on July 11, 2021.
As we all know, these are difficult times for Iranians. The pandemic has wreaked havoc, and the sham presidential election, which was loudly boycotted by the Iranian people, proves once more that the regime cannot be trusted.
Nonetheless, Iran is entering a new era with Raisi as President. As you know, he has been involved in human rights violations for the past four decades. There is no indication why a Raisi government would not continue to perpetrate such violations within a culture of reigning impunity.
The international community must respond adequately and hold Raisi to account for his past and future actions. The European Union it self has tools at its disposal for this, and we should make use of it.
Raisi’s rise to power is a direct consequence of the international community´s appeasement towards Iran. It is another proof that, much like we have seen over the past 40 years, this regime is incapable of reforms.
The “moderate vs hardliner” paradigm, that many in the West had believed in, is debunked. In fact, the Iranian people’s protest chant on the street has lately been: “Reformer, Hardliner, the game is now over.” This is why we need a new policy toward the regime.
Experience has shown us that the fundamentalist regime in Iran cannot be trusted. This regime has lied about its nuclear program for the past 20 years, so we cannot isolate this one issue with all the other issues of the regime. It would be wrong to assume that once the JCPOA is in place, the international community can address the regime’s other threats.
The right policy should not just focus on the regime’s nuclear weapons program, but also its ballistic missile program, its sponsoring of terrorism, its regional malign influence and its human rights violations.
All these elements should be part of a coherent and comprehensive policy toward the regime. A core part of this strategy however must be our clear and public display of solidarity with the Iranian people.
The European Union and the international community should stand with the people of Iran in their quest for freedom. The world should demand from the Iranian regime to free all political prisoners and to stop torture and ill-treatment.
Human rights should be our top priority, and we should make our relations and negotiations with the regime contingent on its absolute respect for human rights.
We stand in solidarity with the people of Iran, as they demand respect for their fundamental human rights and freedoms. We stand in solidarity with the people of Iran, so they can choose their leaders freely and democratically.
Popular protests during these last years have shown that the Iranian people demonstrated their desire for fundamental change. They desire free and fair elections, freedom of speech, gender equality and no discrimination against religious minorities or different ethnicities.
It is now up to us, the international community, to hear these voices, and to put them front and center in our strategy towards the regime. Thank you all, and I wish you a successful summit.