Thursday, June 04, 2015

European parliament angers Iran with human rights resolution

Iran has reacted angrily to a European parliament resolution calling on diplomats to shine a spotlight on human rights in their negotiations with Tehran as part of a new strategy towards the country

Iran's foreign ministry summoned the Greek ambassador on Sunday in protest at the resolution, passed by MEPs in a plenary session last week, which condemned the Islamic republic's record for "continued, systematic violation of fundamental rights". Greece currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU.
Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who spoke to members of the Iranian parliament Majlis at the weekend, dismissed it and said the EU parliament was "not in a position, nor has the moral authority" to take such measures against his country.
The new resolution called for the EU "to mainstream human rights in all aspects of its relations with Iran" and asked European diplomats to make sure that "a high-level and inclusive human rights dialogue with Iran should be part of the future policy framework for bilateral EU–Iran" ties. It condemned the restrictions on freedom of speech and urged Tehran, which along with Iraq accounted for more than two-thirds of the world's executions last year, to declare a moratorium on the death penalty. The resolution reflects the parliament's view but does not have legislative force.
EU parliamentary delegations planning to visit Iran are also asked to hold meetings with members of the Iranian opposition including political prisoners and civil society activists. Last month, Catherine Ashton particularly infuriated Iranians when she met six women's rights activists in Tehran during her first visit to Iran as the EU foreign policy chief.
The new resolution has come ahead of a new round of talks between Iran and six world powers on a comprehensive agreement that could potentially settle a decades-long dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme. Negotiations are due to kick off in Vienna on Tuesday.

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