On the day before the inauguration of the new Iranian president Rohani, Dutch Member of European Parliament Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66) calls on the EU to invite Iran for an ongoing dialogue on human rights and democracy. Schaake: “Rohani has called for civil rights of the Iranian people and for more openness towards other countries. The EU must seize this moment with the new Iranian government and invite it to a structural discussion on human rights.” Keep human rights in mind Over the years there has been a lot of international attention for the concerns for the Iranian nuclear program and for political developments. The risk of forgetting the serious human rights violations always looms. For the EU, the distinction between government and people of Iran continues to be clear. Earlier sanctions blocked access to essential medicines for Iranians. "Of course, the EU should have a strict policy with regard to the nuclear program, but at the same time we must keep in mind the living conditions in the country. Executions, torturing prisoners, the prosecution of human rights defenders and lawyers still happen every day. There is no press- or internet freedom and women have fewer rights than men”, Schaake says. A long way There is still a long way to go in the development of Iran. The entire election process is controlled by the spiritual leaders of the country. Schaake: "This has little to do with free and fair elections. It is more of a selection than an election, women are not allowed to be a candidate and reformist and liberal candidates are excluded. A choice among a pre-selection made by undemocratically appointed religious leaders is not a free election. Yet, without being naive, we need to use this momentum to keep Rohani to his campaign promises on civil rights and fundamental freedoms for all Iranians."