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Conference at the European Parliament on the eve of International Human Rights Day

At a conference at the European Parliament building, many international human rights advocates and members of the European Parliament convened to address the situation of human rights in Iran.

The event, which coincided with the week of International Human Rights Day, featured Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), as its first speaker.

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“In three days,” said Mrs. Rajavi, “we will be marking the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

“For my country, Iran, Human Rights Day is a reminder of the deep scar on my nation’s body and soul, with 120,000 executed dissidents and hundreds of thousands of tortured political prisoners, with at least 5000 prisoners who are presently on the death row and human rights activists and followers of different faiths in prison.”

She urged European nations not to expand their diplomatic or economic relationship with Iran unless major improvements in Iran’s human rights situation took place.

Do not deal with the IRGC companies”, she said, referring to businesses tied to Iran’s military and intelligence services.

“Such businesses only fuel the regime’s repressive machine in Iran and the war machine in Syria.”

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Anna Fotyga, President of European Parliament’s subcommittee on security and defense and former minister of foreign affairs of Poland (ECR), shared her experiences under communist rule in Poland to draw parallels with the current situation in Iran.

“I have my own experience of combating a regime that was vicious, and I know how difficult it is”, she said. Many other Polish officials have also spoken at events urging human rights reforms in Iran.

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“You must hear the calls for justice of the mothers of the victims of the 1988 massacre”, said Shabnam Madadzadeh at the event.

“It is time to stand on the right side of history”, said Madadzadeh, 29, who was a political prisoner in Iran for 4 years before her recent escape from Iran.

“And unfortunately, the war crimes being committed in Syria and the situation of men, women and children in Aleppo is an inevitable shame in modern history. It is time to put an end to our silence”

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José Bové, a MEP from France and a member of the Green party in parliament, said to the Iranians present at the event, “Your place now is in Europe, and in this parliament you are welcome.”

“The government of Iran has a heavy  responsibility for what is happening in Syria. The Syrian government would not have sustained itself without the support of Iran. The role of Hezbollah is well-known; today, Iran is one of the greatest generators of trouble in the Middle East.”

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Tunne Kelam, a MEP from Estonia, said, “We have heard a great deal of support for a principled approach to the Iranian regime, like a recent report that said that any political or economic progress in Iran must be linked to improvements in human rights; this has not happened. And your governments have ignored this insistence. Otherwise, human rights will fall victim to trade and realpolitik, and this is not our aim.”

“Do we prefer to continue daydreaming, assuming that some deals could be concluded with dictators whose regime has not changed? Our excuse has been that, ‘look, this is a reality, we have no alternatives; we have to deal with this regime.’ I can tell you that this is an illusion, and we are betraying not only Iranian people; we are betraying and deluding our own citizens,” Kelam added.

“There is an alternative, and it is here; it is the only alternative I acknowledge. A clear alternative for a secular, non-religious Iran based on equality between women and men, based on friendship with all neighboring countries, and renouncing the nuclear weapons program. I think if we are really interested in peace and stability in the region, here at the European Union we have a moral commitment to support this alternative.”

“Making business must end when thousands and thousands of human beings die. We cannot not just go on condemning the actions; we have to become proactive and take steps to show the mollahs that we mean everything seriously, and we are serious. Therefore the first step must be the recognition of the democratic opposition to the rules of Iran, which is that National Council of Resistance of Iran led by Ms. Maryam Rajavi.”

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Guilio Terzi, advisory Board of United Against Nuclear Iran and Italian Foreign Affairs Minister, also spoke at the event.

“I’ve always been proud to promote the wisdom of my country and government in foreign policy, but in this occasion I cannot do this. The Italian government has taken a lead in the wrong direction. Each minister of Italy’s government…has announced over the last few months new programs with their Iranian counterparts”, said Mr. Terzi.

“According to [the false narrative spread by Iran], Rouhani is no longer a threat…and this has emboldened the Iranian regime.”

The full text of Maryam Rajavi’s speech can be found on her website.

 

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