Report on EU-Iran relations

Amendments by Marietje Schaake

Please find below Marietje Schaake's amendments to the report on EU strategy towards Iran after the nuclear agreement


on EU strategy towards Iran after the nuclear agreement


The European Parliament,

–        having regard to UN Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) adopted on 20 July 2015,

–        having regard to its previous resolutions on Iran, in particular those of 10 March 2011 on the EU’s approach towards Iran[1] and of 3 April 2014 on the EU strategy towards Iran[2],

–        having regard to the joint statement made by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), Federica Mogherini, and the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on 16 April 2016 in Tehran,

–        having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–        having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on International Trade (A8-0000/2016),

EU-Iran relations

Political dialogue

1.       Believes that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, was a notable achievement for European diplomacy in particular, and that Europe is now responsible for not simply ensuring its strict and full implementation, but for maintaining the spirit of negotiations in a way that benefits the peoples of both Iran and the EU but also should develop a broader agenda of EU-Iran relations addressing human rights, anti-corruption, energy policy, rules based trade, environmental concerns and cultural relations;

2.       Believes that EU-Iran relations should be developed based on a clear agenda and with the wellbeing of Iranian people at the heart of any policy, through multi-layered dialogue involving political, technical and people-to-people contacts which will require; supports the opening of EU Iran relations for the mutual benefit of both parties, based on a realistic assessment of common interests and differences, with a view to encouraging step by step expansion of cooperation in a climate of confidence-building; foremost for the benefit of the peoples of Iran and the EU; supports, in this regard, the Commission’s commitment to a renewed engagement with Iran based on ‘a dialogue of the four Cs’: a dialogue that is comprehensive in scope; cooperative in the fields where Iran and the EU have mutual interests; critical, open and frank in areas where Iran and the EU disagree but are looking for common ground; and that is overall constructive in tone and practice;

3.       Welcomes the institutional changes made within the European External Action Service (EEAS) to reflect the new period of EU Iran relations  results of the JCPOA; welcomes the steps taken by the EEAS for the establishment of an EU Delegation in Tehran, to strengthen the EU presence with the goal of engaging with officials, private sector stakeholders, civil society and citizens alike, based on the EU’s broad agenda for its relations with Iran, and to enable better public education within the country about the EU itself, to counter misunderstandings and to build a stronger basis of popular support for growing cooperation between the EU and Iran;

4.       Insists on the importance of developing Considers the parliamentary dimension of EU-Iran relations important but challenging, given the lack of free and fair elections as part of the strategy for re-establishing mutual trust; reiterates its support, in this regard, for the proposal discussed between Parliament and the Majlis for an inter parliamentary dialogue on counter terrorism; welcomes the renewed political dialogue between the EU and Iran, including on human rights which should be based on the universality of human rights; recognises that while there is suspicion and mistrust on both sides, there is also a long history of ties between many people from many Member States and people in Iran and that Iran has a strong ambition to have good relations with Europe, which provides the potential for a relationship based on mutual trust and respect; reiterates that the EU does not seek to interfere in internal political choices in this country or in any other, but seeks cooperation based on mutual respect for international standards and principles starting with the universality of human rights; believes that the full normalisation gradual improvement of relations can only occur by means of regular and sustained dialogue and that the immediate priority should be to broaden the scope of EU-Iran relations in areas where there is common agreement to do so on the basis of a clearly set broad agenda; believes, however, that the ultimate aim must be one of partnership between Iran and the EU;

5.       Recognises that differences exist between the EU and Iran on the use of Strongly condemns the continued application of the death penalty in high numbers particularly for people convicted of drug smuggling without due process or fair trial; nevertheless believes cooperation on anti-narcotics programmes and on the question of ending juvenile executions, in line with Iran’s own commitments, could provide a common agenda for addressing this question should be addressed;

6.       Takes note ofUnderlines the fact that eliminating the death penalty for drug-related offences would drastically reduce the number of executions (up to 80 % according to Iranian estimates); Calls on the Iranian authorities to put a moratorium on the death penalty; calls for EU-Iran cooperation in the fight against illegal drug trade as a way of addressing the issue of executions in the country without directly or indirectly becoming complacent in the arrest of people who may face the death penalty; calls on the Commission to provide technical assistance and administrative capacity-building for Iran to enable it to secure its borders with Afghanistan and Iraq while respecting the rights of people and the right to ask for asylum;

NEW Calls on a re-assessment of qualifying container scanners as a dual-use item, which hinders the scanning of freight containers in the countering of illegal smuggling of narcotics;

7.       Calls on the EEAS to explore the possibility of establishing an institutional framework for cooperation with Iran, such as a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) or a Framework Agreement based on a clear set of benchmarks which should be met prior to opening any negotiations;

Trade and economic matters

8.       Takes note of Iran’s stated objective of achieving a yearly growth rate of 8 %; believes that European investments are key for Iran to achieve this goal; stresses that for Iran to realise its economic potential, it will have to take steps to create a transparent economic environment and a truly private sector, conducive to international investment and take anti-corruption measures on all levels, particularly regarding compliance with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force; calls on the EU to fully support transparency and accountability Iran’s efforts in this process via, and when benchmarks are met to explore in particular, support for steps work towards forging a bilateral investment treaty between the EU and Iran; calls for the EU to develop economic cooperation with Iran; takes note that Iran is the world’s largest economy outside the WTO; supports, in this regard, Iran’s bid to join the WTO;

9.       Recalls the uncertainty impact that extraterritorial US sanctions, in particular US-related sanctions on banks, have on create for EU businesses willing to invest in Iran; insists on the need to address this and other financial matters to create the necessary conditions clarity and legal certainty for EU businesses to work business to prosper in Iran and contribute to Iranians feeling relief from sanctions in their everyday lives after the lifting of sanctions in line with the JCPOA;

10.     Believes that the lifting of sanctions by the EU and the international community as laid down in the JCPOA is an important element in demonstrating European good faith towards Iran, as well as providing mutual economic benefit; calls for emphasis to be placed on the quality as well as on the quantity of investments, and for an initiative to assess whether new investments uphold the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights similar to that undertaken when sanctions were lifted in Myanmar/Burma;

NEW Considers the lack of freedom of expression online, the systematic surveillance and monitoring of internet traffic as well as the lack of digital freedoms to be an obstacle to trade with Iran, as well as a violation of people’s rights and freedoms;

NEW Calls for a specific assessment of the impact on human rights when EU companies export telecoms, law-enforcement, IT, surveillance and other dual-use systems;  

Sectorial cooperation

11.     Believes that energy cooperation can play a significant role in diversifying the sources of energy supply to the EU, thereby contributing to the EU’s energy security;

12.     Takes note that currently more than half of Iranian households’ energy needs are met by natural gas; stresses the great potential of developing renewable energies in Iran, a country with on average 300 days of sunshine per year, and an estimated production capacity equivalent to 13 times Iran’s total energy consumption;

13.     Calls on Iran to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and for EU-Iran energy cooperation to be consistently underpinned by the aim of improving environmental and social as well as economic benefits of both peoples;

14.     Calls for environmental cooperation in the areas of water conservation management, the fight against desertification, earthquake monitoring, as well as addressing air pollution and waste management;

15.     Takes note of studies stating that nuclear energy might not be competitive in Iran due to low reserves of uranium and the costs of extracting it; calls, nevertheless, on the Commission to explore the potential for nuclear civilian cooperation with Iran, in line with the commitment of the JCPOA, and to encourage Iran to sign the Convention on Nuclear Safety; encourages Iran to consider the proposal by some Iranian officials for establishing a regional dialogue on safety and security of civil nuclear programmes;

16.     Stresses the potential for cooperation in the area of aviation safety, providing technical assistance and access to the necessary components for Iranian companies to be removed from the European black list;

17.     Takes note of the fact that Iran hosts 3 million Afghan refugees; welcomes the additional EUR 6.5 million of EU funding to support Iran in the education and health care of the Afghan population in the country; believes international aid organizations are best positioned to receive EU funds and to provide aid; believes that EU-Iran cooperation on refugee management should improve the well-being of refugees in Iran and prevent human traffickers can enhance mutual understanding, promote improved respect for international law and the lives of refugees themselves, as well as contributing to conflict resolution in order to reduce the causes of current and future refugee movements;

18.     Recognises that the young, educated and technologically advanced population in Iran can provide particular opportunities for advancing people-to-people contacts with the EU; calls for increased cooperation in the field of education, research and innovation via increased exchanges of students and researchers calls for the Commission to study the possibility of visa liberalisation for Iranian academics and researchers to study and undergo training in European universities;

NEW Expresses grave concern over the arrest of EU-Iranian dual-nationals upon their entering Iran, stresses that these arrests hinder the possibilities of people to people contacts;

NEW Calls on Iranian authorities to allow for Iranian diaspora in Europe to safely travel to their country of birth;

NEW Calls on the judiciary to respect fair trial, due process and to grand suspects access to a lawyer;

NEW Condemns the systematic torture in Iranian prisons;


Iran’s role in the region

19.     Takes note that because of its geostrategic location, the size of its population, its oil and natural gas reserves and its influence in the region, Iran is a major player in the Middle East and the Gulf region; stresses that the pursuit of Iranian interests does not and should not be in competition with other major players in the region;

20.     Expresses concern about growing militarisation in the wider region and supports efforts towards greater arms control, non-proliferation, countering terrorism, while recognising legitimate defence concerns, but within a context of seeking to promote full respect for sovereignty of all countries in the region itself;

21.     Believes that the nuclear deal opens the possibility for cooperation in resolving the region’s security crisis; believes that Iran can and should play a stabilisation role in the region; believes that the whole region can benefit from a normalisation of relations with Iran;

NEW Condemns Iran’s support of Hezbollah, which is on the EU terror list;

NEW Condemns the political as well as military and strategic support by the Revolutionary Guards of the Assad regime which has been indiscriminately killing civilians;

NEW Underlines the need for Iran to play a meaningful role in ending the war in Syria;

NEW Condemns the covert recruitment of Afghan boys to fight for the regime of President Assad in Syria;

22.     Believes EU-Iran political dialogue should call on urge Iran to play a constructive role in solving the political crises in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Afghanistan, based on respect for international law and the sovereignty of these countries; calls, in this regard, for a model of EU diplomacy based on political priorities rather than religious identities differences and on the principle of ensuring respect, safety and security for peoples in all countries in the Middle East, without exception;

23.     Believes that there can be no solution to conflicts in the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region without all players being present at the table; welcomes, in this regard, Iran’s engagement in the Syrian peace talks via its participation in the International Syria Support Group (ISSG); calls for its contribution to at least further facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to increase protection of the civilian population from attacks and to continuously seek a long-term solution to the conflict;

24.     Welcomes Iran’s expressed readiness to support the current efforts to bring stability to Iraq, and urges it to play a meaningful role to end sectarian violence and calls for additional efforts to bring all the militias operating in the country under the authority of the Iraqi army; welcomes Iran’s contribution to the fight against ISIS/Da’esh notes the agreement between Iran and Australia to share intelligence on the fight against ISIS/Da’esh;

25.     Believes that regional rivalries are an underlying factor in conflicts in several countries in the region; calls for active EU diplomacy to de-escalate tensions between Tehran and Riyadh, including confidence building, track II diplomacy and de-escalation measures in the normalisation of their relations; calls on the EU to work with the US and Russia to that end and, in particular, in supporting the development of a new regional security infrastructure that takes into account Iran and Saudi Arabia’s threat perceptions and legitimate security concerns and provides security guarantees both to Iran and the countries of the GUlf Cooperation Council; stresses that cooperation on maritime security in the Persian Gulf, including the signing of a charter on free navigation, could be a first confidence-building measure in developing regional trust and cooperation;

Socio-economic issues, rule of law, democracy and human rights

26.     Believes that Iran’s revolutionary legal system and its constitution as an Islamic State must not be an impediment for finding common ground on matters related to are incompatible with democracy respect for universal or human rights, fundamental freedoms and democratic values;

NEW Calls on Iranian authorities to fully respect the universal human rights of all people, in particular the rights to free expression online and offline;

NEW Calls on Iranian authorities to respect the rights of women and to eliminate any discriminatory measures in family-, criminal-, labour and other laws;

NEW Calls for the release of all political prisoners;

NEW Calls for the immediate release of EU citizens detained in Iran including: Nazak Afshar, Kamal Foroughi, and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and all other dual-nationals unjustly detained;

NEW Calls for the immediate release of Canadian-Iranian Homa Hoodfar, American-Iranians Amir Hekmati, Siamak Namazi and his father Baquer Namazi, and all other dual-nationals unjustly detained;

NEW Calls on Iranian authorities to respect LGBTI rights;

NEW Calls on Iranian authorities to allow for free and fair elections, and international monitors;

27.     Notes with concern that Iran has Strongly condemns Iran has the highest level of death-penalty executions per capita in the world; stresses that eliminating the death penalty for drug-related offences would dramatically decrease the number of executions; welcomes, in this regard, encourages the possibility that the newly-elected Majlis is considering to adopt legislation to exclude some drug-related offences from the list of crimes punishable with the death penalty;

28.     Welcomes Recalls the fact that the adoption of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code and Iran’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child prohibits child executions and allows all juvenile offenders sentenced to death prior to 2013 to seek retrial; calls on Iran to ensure this prohibition is fully implemented and that all relevant offenders are made aware of this right; calls on Iran to declare a moratorium on the death penalty, at least for juvenile offenders;

29.     Calls on Iran to live up fully to its commitments under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by ensuring the enjoyment by its citizens of individual rights without discrimination as to sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, or other status, as provided for in these instruments; points out that this includes a basic right to equality before the law, as well as the right of equal access to education, health care and professional opportunities;

30.     Welcomes Recalls President Rohani’s campaign promise to present a charter for citizens’ rights; underlines the importance of respecting the rule of law and the to need to ensure the independence of the judiciary in general, as well as in providing the necessary legal certainty required for foreign direct investments to take place; calls on the EEAS and the Commission to work together with the Iranian authorities in areas such as judicial reform, reform of the prison system, government accountability, respect for the rule of law, citizens’ universal human rights and fundamental freedoms and the fight against corruption believes that these measures will increase legal certainty in Iran and the country’s attractiveness to foreign investors while also benefiting Iranian citizens;


[1] Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0096.

[2] Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0339.