By Al Riyadh Daily
The office of Mr.Gérard Deprez, MEP Ministre d’Etat, Belgique and the Chair of Friends of a Free Iran in European Parliament issued the following Press Release.
We are announcing the joint statement of 197 members of the European Parliament in support of Iranian people’s uprising for a democratic change. The signatories are from all political groups and tendencies in the European Parliament and include several Vice-Presidents of the parliament and Committee and Delegation Chairs.
The uprising which began on 28 December and continued for nearly 2 weeks, shook Iran. The nationwide protests covered all 31 provinces of Iran and over 140 cities. The people of Iran, especially the younger generation, have made it clear that they are fed up with Islamic fundamentalist rule and want a regime change. Many chanted “down with the dictator,” “down with Khamenei” and “down with Rouhani.” Women played an active role in the protests.
The regime’s response was to use violence. Thousands were arrested. Already 14 of the protesters have died under torture. The human rights situation has deteriorated in the wake of the recent protests. Iran continues to carry out the highest number of executions per capita globally.
Many senior leaders and officials of the regime have spoken about the role of the main opposition PMOI (or MEK) in the uprising. According to AFP, 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 implicitly threatened to execute the protesters.
We condemn the use of force against the defenseless protesters and call on the EU and European governments to adopt effective measures and binding decisions to compel the regime to release the political prisoners.
We are troubled by the misinformation campaign by the Iranian regime against Iranian exiles. It seems that as the regime is besieged by uprisings, protests and strikes all over the country, it needs more than ever to spread false information against its opposition to restrict their activities. Tehran must not be allowed to extend its policy of repression and harassment to Europe against dissidents and political refugees who should be able to raise public awareness for human rights and women rights in Iran.
We are quite critical of the current policy of the EU regarding Iran. Human rights in Iran cannot be compromised or marginalized on the pretext of political considerations, trade or the nuclear deal. Any expansion of political and economic relations with Iran must be conditional upon a clear progress on human rights, women’s rights and a halt to executions.