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MEP: Mogherini must make human rights priority in Iran


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Member of the European Parliament, Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66) wants High Representative Mogherini to put human rights at the top of the agenda during her visit to Iran next week. Along with her 6 European Commissioners are set to visit Iran highlighting a broader agenda for EU-Iran relations. Today, Schaake sent a letter to Mogherini, co-signed by over sixty other MEPs, calling on Mogherini to include the EU special representative on human rights with her on her trip to Iran. Schaake: "There are many issues we need to discuss with Iran, but the EU must make clear that human rights are and will remain our key interest and that all contacts are conditional on improvements in the human rights situation in Iran. Taking the EU special representative on human rights, Stavros Lambrinidis, on her trip would be a clear signal underlining the EU´s priorities. We also call on Mogherini to speak about the role that Iran plays in the region, which is becoming ever more volatile. Support for Hezbollah, the murderous regime in Syria and its influencing of politics in Iraq and Yemen need to be addressed if we are to find a solution to the crises in the Middle East. If the authorities in Iran want to rebuild trust in relations with Europe, they must choose for Iran to actively advance the wellbeing of citizens in Iran and of people in the Middle-East more broadly." EU delegations After the conclusion of the nuclear deal, there have been numerous European delegations to Iran to talk about further engagement, but these have often had economic ties as their main issue. Schaake: "Economic development is important but will only benefit Iranians if corruption is fought and a true private sector emerges. Development must go hand in hand with the improvement of the wellbeing of people and the respect of their human rights. Iran remains an unfree country where criticism of the regime is dangerous and repression continues; press freedom, digital freedoms and freedom of speech are not respected. The unprecedented numbers of executions remain a huge problem, which the EU needs to keep on addressing. The rights of women are a key priority for the EU as well." Strengthen dialogue Mogherini is travelling to Iran with seven colleagues from the European Commission in order to be able to address a wide spectrum of issues. Schaake: "It is good that the EU is moving to strengthen the dialogue and engagement with Iran, which can help to break Iran's self-chosen isolation. Issues like refugees, the fight against drug-trafficking, climate change, energy and cultural exchange should be discussed. But they must not be allowed to obscure the key issue, which is the wish of the Iranian people for a more free and democratic society. The High Representative needs to demonstrate that the EU supports that wish. Those areas of common interest we have with Iran must be used as leverage to address the issues of human rights and fundamental freedoms." Read more: 14/03/2015 MEP Schaake responds to outcome Foreign Affairs Council 29-01-2016 MEP reacts to the parliamentary elections in Iran 08-12-2015 Written Question on exports of sensitive military materials to Iran, Myanmar, Sudan and Syria