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Iran Meeting at the European Parliament

ImageThe inter-parliamentary group "Friends of a Free Iran" at the European Parliament held a meeting today in Strasbourg. Dozens of MEPs attended the session, in which a video tape of the execution of three victims in the city of Khoramabad, west of Iran, was aired. The MEP’s discussed the recent developments in Iran, including the deteriorating human rights situation and the upcoming presidential elections.

They also criticized a report published last month by Human Rights Watch on the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin of Iran, describing it as biased and politically motivated.

Mr. Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, was the keynote speaker. He said: "Elections in Iran are not an exercise in the democratic process; they are a means to legitimize an otherwise illegitimate theocracy. Based on a nationwide poll taken by the People’s Mojahedin, of the 1,730 persons asked about the election, 92 percent said they would not cast their ballots.

"That said, regardless of the outcome, the regime will emerge much weaker and the crisis will only deepen because whoever wins cannot resolve the very serious problems facing the regime," Mohaddessin added.

The MEP’s noted the following:

The upcoming election in Iran is illegitimate as there are no independent candidates. All candidates must prove their allegiance to the doctrine of the velayat-e fagih (absolute supremacy of clerical rule) before being allowed to participate in the election.

The eight candidates approved by the Guardian Council share responsibility for many of the atrocities in Iran in the past twenty-five years. Four were commanders of the Revolutionary Guards Corps with direct involvement in the suppression and execution of political opponents. A leading candidate is Hashemi Rafsanjani, infamous not only for his role in atrocities in Iran but also for masterminding terrorist attacks abroad. During his eight-year tenure, dozens of Iranian dissidents were assassinated in Europe. A Berlin Court in 1997 implicated him as one of the masterminds of terrorist attack against four Iranian dissidents at the Mykonos Restaurant. Another candidate is Mostafa Moien who served under Khatami. Under his watch, the 1999 student uprising in Tehran and elsewhere was crushed.

Investing on Iranian regime’s internal factions is tantamount to betting on a dead horse and would only embolden Iran’s rulers to step up domestic repression and gain more time to pursue their nuclear weapons’ program. Europe should identify with the millions in Iran whose cry is freedom and not their oppressors.

In our view, the report by Human Rights Watch was in line with the policy of appeasing the regime in Tehran. While condemning this biased report, we are dismayed at the refusal of the HRW to retract this procedurally flawed and substantively inaccurate report that was based on testimonies by agents of the Iran’s Intelligence Ministry.

The Iranian regime will no doubt use this report to justify its atrocities, in particular its crackdown on dissidents.

Struan Stevenson (PPE-ED) & Paulo Casaca (PSE)
Co-Chairs, Friends of a Free Iran (Inter parliamentary Group)