‘Condition Trade With Iran on Human Rights’

The European Parliament in Brussells, Belgium
The European Parliament in Brussells, Belgium (Photo: Mark Renders/Getty Images)

As the international community rightfully focuses on Iran’s meddling in Syria, Iraq and Yemen (in addition to its ballistic missile belligerence), one aspect that should remain under the spotlight is Tehran’s atrocious human rights violations.

Congress and the Trump administration are turning up the heat on Iran already. Concurrently, 265 members of the European Parliament issued a joint statement on Monday expressing their grave concerns about the mullahs’ “human rights violations, repression of women and minorities and the Iranian regime’s support of terrorism.”

The weight of four EP vice presidents and 23 committee and delegation chairs are also behind this statement, sending a strong signal to Iran.

While the mullahs boast of holding elections last month, the EP statement blasts the entire process as “fake” considering the fact that “there were no opposition candidates.”

As the West’s pro-engagement media constantly praise the regime’s President Hassan Rouhani as a “moderate,” the fact is that more than 3,000 executions in his first four years, making Iran the leading state executioner per capita in the world. That makes Rouhani anything but a moderate.

“Rouhani’s minister of justice is a self-confessed murderer who was a member of the Death Committee, ordering the executions of over 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, mostly from the main opposition PMOI,” the statement reads.

The PMOI is the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, also known as the MEK, the largest member of the Paris-based political coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

NCRI President Maryam Rajavi enjoys widespread EP support and raising attention about Iran’s atrocious record of executions has always been on her agenda.

This recent EP initiative particularly calls on “the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council to set up a commission of inquiry into the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran.”

Iran has shown it only understands serious action. As a result European governments across the board should set aside short-term economic gains and stand by their highly-valued principles. The statement correctly calls on European nation to “condition their relationships with Iran to a halt to executions and a clear progress on human rights and women rights.”

Entities in Iran such as the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and its affiliate paramilitary Basij thugs are mainly responsible for the harsh crackdowns being experienced in Iran. The IRGC has special wards in most of Iran’s prisons, usually used to interrogate and torture dissidents and political prisoners.

The IRGC has also gained control of over 40% of Iran’s economy. This makes it nearly impossible for any nation to have any trade relations with Tehran without some of its money supporting the IRGC.

Abroad, the Guards are notorious for their role in spearheading Iran’s meddling across the Middle East — specifically in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. Proxy militias in Iraq, shock troops from as far as Afghanistan in Syria, providing arms and financial back-up to the Houthis in Yemen, and funding their offspring — the Lebanese Hezbollah — with dozens of millions of dollars each year from 1982 to this day.

The best method to make the mullahs understand such measures will no longer be tolerated is to begin with designating the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization. This should be a joint effort by the US, the European Union and Middle East countries.​

Representatives of these nations and dozens of other countries from across the globe will be flocking this Saturday to the annual Iranian opposition rally in Paris to support regime change. As seen in previous such rallies, over 100,000 members of the Iranian Diaspora will join to express their support for NCRI President Maryam Rajavi and 10-point-plan calling for a democratic, pluralistic and non-nuclear Iran without any weapons of mass destruction.

As the EP statement emphasizes so importantly, the issue of human rights in the Iran of tomorrow will be imperative, with executions abolished and an end to decades of horrific torture and unlawful imprisonments.

 

SK
Shahriar Kia
Shahriar Kia is a political analyst and member of Iranian opposition (PMOI/MEK). He graduated from North Texas University.