Report on the EU Delegation visit to Iran - EP Delegation to Iran addresses human rights, nuclear non-proliferation

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Report on the EU Delegation visit to Iran - EP Delegation to Iran addresses human rights, nuclear non-proliferation

The European Parliament's Delegation for relations with Iran travelled to Tehran from 7 -10 December, for the 2nd EP/Iran interparliamentary meeting.

The 11-Member Delegation was led by its Chair, Angelika Beer (Greens/EFA, DE).

The Delegation met its interlocutors in the Majlis (Parliament) of the Islamic Republic of Iran (including the Speaker, Haddad Adel), members of government (in particular, Foreign Affairs Minister Manouchehr Mottaki) and senior officials, as well as officials of the UN agencies active in Iran. It also held a dialogue with members of Iranian "civil society," including representatives of trade unions, women's organizations, ethnic and religious minorities, and met Members of the diplomatic and business communities. It visited associations of victims of MKO terrorism as well as of former Members of terrorist organizations.

The Delegation would like to thank all those who took part in this dialogue, and in particular those who attended the meetings held "under the UN umbrella" in the UN headquarters in Tehran, and who in many cases ran personal risk in order to meet the Delegation and inform it on the situation in Iran. They asked the Delegation to transmit to the European Parliament and to the wider international Community a series of urgent requests:

-the immediate liberation of arrested trade unionists, including the leaders of the bus drivers' union, Mansour Osanlou and Ebrahim Madadi as well as Mahmoud Salehi (bakery workers' union); the Delegation met the wives of these detainees who also stressed the need for them to receive adequate health care

-a stay of execution for Kurdish journalist Adnan Hassanpour, who was condemned to death, as well as a revision of his trial

-improvements in the area of women's rights and family law, such as important amendments to the proposed "family protection bill" and the quick adoption of the "children and juvenile courts bill"

-end to the discrimination and harassment suffered by religious and ethnic minorities, in particular with regard to education and public employment; this request was expressed to the Delegation by representatives of Bahais, Sufi, Kurdish and Ahwaz minorities.

The Chair of the Delegation and the representative of the EP subcommittee on human rights met the families of students arrested in the first days of December in a nation-wide police action against student organizations. A list of 28 names of students (whose whereabouts and conditions were still unknown) was transmitted to the Iranian Majlis, with a call for immediate action in view of their liberation. The Chair of the Iranian Delegation, Dr. Mahmoud Mohammadi, undertook to raise this issue with the competent Iranian authorities. The list was also forwarded to the EU Presidency, with a call for rapid action.

With regard to the interparliamentary meetings, the Delegation warmly welcomed the establishment of a regular dialogue with its counterparts in the Iranian Majlis. A "joint statement" was issued by the two Chairs, which you can consult as an attachment.

In light of the recent report by the US intelligence agencies, nuclear non-proliferation was discussed extensively. The Delegation stressed the importance of seizing the favourable political moment in order to make progress towards a satisfactory, peaceful solution to this problem, in accordance with NPT and IAEA regulations.

Human rights were also discussed, particularly in the light of possible reform of Iran's legislation on the death penalty, the age of legal responsibility and the execution of "child offenders". Other items of particular interests were the problem of the impact of economic sanctions and developments in EU/Iran economic relations, the situation in the Middle East, and the fight against drug trafficking and consumption as well as international terrorism. The Delegation underlined the continuing status of the MKO as a terrorist organization, on the basis of the list adopted by Council.

The Delegation thanked the Iranian Majlis for the warm hospitality enjoyed, and extended an invitation in order to continue the dialogue at the next meeting, to be held in the EU in the course of 2008.
The other Members of the Delegation were: Vice-Chair Romano LARUSSA (UEN, IT), Vice-Chair Christa PRETS (PES, AT), Vittorio AGNOLETTO (UEL/NGL, IT), Iles BRAGHETTO (EPP-ED, IT), Agustin DÍAZ DE MERA GARCÍA CONSUEGRA (EPP-ED, ES), Baroness Emma NICHOLSON OF WINTERBOURNE (ALDE, UK), Tobias PFLÜGER (EUL/NGL, DE), John PURVIS (EPP-ED, UK), Vicente Miguel GARCES RAMON (PES, ES), and Libor ROUČEK (PES, CZ).

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