This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

Respect for human rights in Iran crucial


Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66) only wants to strengthen relations with Iran in exchange for an improvement of the human rights situation. The International Trade Committee of the European Parliament (INTA) shares her views as expressed in a text adopted today. Schaake: "After the nuclear deal with Iran there is room for further integration into the international community. We have to use this momentum to force the regime to treat its people better and to play a constructive role in the Middle East. More trade, better economic relations, a dialogue on the problems in Afghanistan and cooperation against illegal drug trafficking are necessary, but can only take place if these conditions are met."

Trade delegations

Earlier this year a delegation with Commissioners visited Iran and various EU Members States have organised trade missions to the country. Back then, Schaake called upon EU High Representative Mogherini to take with her the Special Representative for Human Rights. Schaake: "It is vital that Europe prioritizes its values and not just focuses on economic interests. We can be most effective with an integrated approach in which human rights take the lead. Tightening economic relations with the hope that human rights will follow will not work. It only empowers those elements of a regime that violate human rights."

In the adopted text the European Parliament also calls for an investigation to assess whether the negotiations about Iran's WTO membership can be started again. Schaake: "If Iran is to become member of the WTO, the country will be more integrated in the international rules based system. Furthermore, it will become easier to force Iran to comply with the agreements made about an open and fair market. We could make these WTO negotiations dependent on the improvement of the human rights situation."


Another important part of the adopted text is about sanctions. As part of the nuclear deal, the EU and US have lifted sanctions. As a result, Iran regained access to the international markets, but there is still a lot of uncertainty, especially concerning American sanctions. Schaake: "European companies are left in limbo and are afraid to violate the rules set by the Americans. This makes it difficult to trade with Iran, while this should be perfectly possible after the nuclear deal. The extra-territorial impact of American sanctions prevent Europe from implementing its own policy. We call upon the US to provide us with more judicial certainty to ensure European companies know where they stand. The European Commission should engage in dialogue with the US about this topic."