On February 15, Friends of a Free Iran (FOFI), a group at the European Parliament, held a conference in Strasbourg, which was chaired by MEP Gérard Deprez. The meeting, which was well attended by members of the European Parliament, had Mohammad Mohaddessin from the Iranian democratic opposition as its guest speaker. Mohaddessin chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee of the political coalition, National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
As the guest speaker, he updated the members on the current situation in Iran and the prospects of democratic change. Overall, there were 17 MEPs from different political groups who spoke at the conference. The focus was on violations of human rights within Iran. The speakers urged the EU and European governments to condition their relationships with this theocratic regime. The main condition appears to be clear progress on human rights and a halt to executions, which have increased under current President Hassan Rouhani.
In public comments on Iranian TV, Rouhani had stressed that executions “are either God’s commandments or laws made by parliament that belongs to the people and therefore, must be implemented.” Under his supposedly “moderate” government, Iran is the number one state-executioner in the world per capita.
The current policy of the EU and EEAS, when it comes to Iran, is one based on economic interests, often at the expense of making human rights a lesser priority.
The speakers also touched on the issue of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which has been making headlines in light of the NCRI report on their terrorist training camps and the Trump administration’s proposal to designate them as a foreign terrorist organization. The IRGC also runs a majority of the economy, making it a major force within Iran. The European governments and the EU High Representative, Mrs. Mogherini, encourage investment in Iran after the 2015 nuclear deal, they are actually encouraging governments and businesses to work with the IRGC.
However, this group has been active in fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, as well as training forces to fight in these areas of instability and export terrorism through their training camps. MEPs at the conference called for IRGC to be designated as a terrorist organization, which must immediately be expelled from Syria, Iraq and other countries within the region.
The group also expressed support for the NCRI and the 10-Point Plan that Mrs. Maryam Rajavi has put forward, which includes a secular democratic Iran and the abolishment of the death penalty.
The latest round of presidential elections within Iran had no opposition candidates, because they weren’t allowed to take part and thus it made the elections appear to be the sham that they really are.