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European Parliament meeting: MEPs called for stricter policies on Iranian regime & support for Iranian people’s uprising

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Today (21 September), members of the European Parliament from various political groups held a meeting titled, “One year after Mahsa Amini's death: the situation in Iran.” Participants called for stricter policies on the Iranian regime, including blacklisting of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and imposing comprehensive sanctions to force the Iranian regime to stop its ongoing crimes against Iranian protesters, its export of terrorism, missiles and drones and its nuclear ambitions.

The meeting held at the European Parliament, in Brussels marking the 1st anniversary of the protests in Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, provided a platform to discuss the ongoing struggle for freedom and women's rights in Iran.

It was organized by The Parliament Magazine and focused on the EU's role in supporting the Iranian people, particularly women, addressing the destructive activities of Iranian intelligence services in Europe and discussing the ongoing uprising in Iran.

The panel discussion was moderated by Rogier Elshout and included MEPs Radka Maxova (Vice-Chair, FEMM), Dorien Rookmaker, Anna Fotyga, Javier Zarzalejos (through a video message), Azadeh Zabeti, International human rights lawyer, Co-President of the Committee of Anglo-Iranian Lawyers, and Gérard Vespierre, founding partner of Strategic Councils and associate researcher at the Middle East Study Foundation (FEMO) in France.

During the meeting, Azadeh Zabeti, the keynote speaker, highlighted the significance of the national uprising in Iran following Mahsa Amini's tragic death in custody. She emphasized that the uprising was not solely about the hijab and the mandatory dress code but rather a call for regime change and the establishment of a free, democratic and secular Republic in Iran. Ms. Zabeti provided distressing accounts of the Iranian regime's brutality, including the killing, unlawful detention, torture and sexual violence against both men and women protestors during last year’s uprising.

Zabeti also criticized Western governments for making concessions to the clerical regime, citing as examples the release of the convicted terrorist diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, in exchange for the Belgian aid worker kept as hostage in Iran, the payment of a six billion dollar ransom for unlawfully held Iranian-American hostages, the recent side-meeting between Josep Borrell and the mullahs’ Foreign Minister at the United Nation’s General Assembly and the embrace of President Ebrahim Raisi by the United Nations General Assembly, despite his major role in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, among other cases of crimes against humanity.

Zabeti said that these are only a few examples of an appeasement policy pursued by European governments and the US administration, and argued that continued appeasement will embolden the regime’s domestic killings and human rights abuses while also endangering global peace and security and threatening Europe itself.

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MEP Radka Maxova, emphasized the need to support those fighting for change in Iran and the inadequacy of verbal condemnation for the regime’s atrocities.

MEP Dorien Rookmaker, stated that the Iranian regime uses misinformation as a tool to vilify the only viable alternative to the theocratic regime in Iran, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the main Iranian opposition movement, the People’s’ Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). Her message to colleagues was that they should carefully consider what they say and do, to determine whether it helps the resistance units and people inside Iran. She also expressed her support for the 10-point plan of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the NCRI.

MEP Anna Fotyga noted that from its inception, this has been a barbaric regime. She drew attention to the 1988 massacre of political prisoners and the fact that President Raisi is himself responsible and should be held accountable. She spoke of the need to end the impunity that he enjoys and expressed her outrage over the fact that he spoke at the UN. She further underscored the need for more stringent measures and policies towards the Iranian regime.

In a message to the conference, MEP Javier Zarzalejos stated that to guarantee peace and security, strict diplomatic measures are necessary to guarantee freedom and democracy in Iran.

Gerrard Vespierre, who recently published a study titled, “Iran towards a second revolution?” explained why another revolution is inevitable despite the fierce repression and the diplomatic maneuvers by the regime. According to Mr. Vespierre, the steady decline of the economy in the past four decades and a steady increase in inflation shows that this regime has made no investment in the economy and instead has been investing in terrorism and its nuclear program.

Addressing the role of the EU in supporting the progressive movements that strive for a different future for Iran, the speakers suggested the following practical measures:

  • Declaring the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization.
  • Recognizing the Iranian people's right to defend themselves against the IRGC and other suppressive forces.
  • Prosecuting the regime’s leaders for four decades of crimes against humanity.

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