11 December 2013
The ECR Group in the European Parliament has attacked a delegation of left-wing MEPs heading off to Iran on Thursday, without setting any preconditions such as the regime allowing them to meet opposition spokespersons or debating the human rights situation.
The European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament has attacked a delegation of left-wing MEPs heading off to Iran on Thursday, without setting any preconditions such as the regime allowing them to meet opposition spokespersons or debating the human rights situation.
The delegation had been postponed several times in the past after ECR objections were raised. In the first instance the delegation was cancelled after the Iranian regime refused to honour preconditions placed on them, such as allowing the MEPs to meet opposition activists. On this occasion the delegation is set to fly out on Thursday afternoon with a programme of proposed meetings – instead of guaranteed meetings – with opposition activists.
ECR Leader Martin Callanan said that Iran’s human rights record is showing no sign of improvement under Rouhani, and the MEPs should not be making the visit until there is a clear change of attitude on questions surrounding human rights, support for terror, and clear action regarding nuclear proliferation.
“Left wing MEPs are being exceptionally naive to think that this delegation is likely to have a positive impact on the ground. The Rouhani regime may have come to the table over its nuclear ambitions but it is still a state that supports terror and executes hundreds of opponents every year. This leopard has not changed his spots.
“We should only re-establish this kind of contact with Iran once the regime has shown a sustained commitment to improving its abysmal human rights record. It is regrettable that this group of MEPs have had their bags packed for several years and wasted no time to book their flights to Tehran. The fact that they are travelling with only a proposed programme of meetings is very concerning. The same conditions should apply as before: that they will only travel if guaranteed access to opposition activists.
“We should show the EU’s support for reformist moderate elements in Iran. Unfortunately, this delegation risks handing a despotic regime a propaganda coup.
“European nations and the USA brought Iran to the table through their resolve and strength. That hard work cannot be undermined by a delegation of well-meaning but utterly naive left-wing MEPs spreading mixed messages. This delegation seriously risks handing Rouhani an early Christmas present.”
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