Dutch member of the European Parliament, Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66), wants the EU to act more strategically towards Iran. Today, the Committee for Foreign Affairs debates a report that gives recommendations for future EU policy with regards to Iran (votes tomorrow). Schaake: "Under President Rohani a temporary deal has been reached on the nuclear programme but there are many other issues which are on the agenda. Besides, the question now is whether this careful opening will persist or whether isolation and the hardliners will win? The European Union needs to use this moment to discuss other issues with Iran. In the first place, we need to focus on the dreadful human rights situation in the country, but also the role Iran plays in the Syrian crisis. By supporting the Assad regime and Hezbollah, it places itself directly opposite the EU which seeks and end to the war." EU representation To act decisively, Schaake wants the EU to open a permanent diplomatic representation in Tehran. "We need to act as a global player and unite our voices and show the regime we are ambitious about improvements. Aside from an official representation, the European special representative for human rights should visit Iran. The continuing executions, the violence and censorship are unacceptable", Schaake says. In December 2013, Schaake travelled to Iran with an official delegation form the European Parliament. "The ambassadors from European member states agreed that it would be best to open an EU embassy to prevent overlap and to improve coordination.” Regional problems Iran plays an important role in its region. Iran supports the Syrian regime and Hezbollah both financially and militarily. Schaake: "We cannot deny Iran's regional influence. Instead of isolating the country, we need to involve it in the important diplomatic discussions; without Iran, we will not be able to find a sustainable solution to the Syrian crisis. For the EU it is also important to discuss the future of Afghanistan with Iran. Iran has huge problems with drug trafficking and refugees from Afghanistan. These problems could be a starting point for a dialogue that should also address human rights."