"Defeating Islamic Fundamentalism Begins With Gender Equality"
NCRI - Speaking at a conference at the European Parliament on Wednesday, 6 December 2017, British MEP Anthea McIntyre said: “At a time when Islamic fundamentalism is the greatest enemy we face in the world” and “the question of defeating this enemy begins with gender equality, with women’s rights.”
The conference was held in Brussels on the initiative of the Friends of a Free Iran inter-group at the European Parliament, which enjoys the support of several hundred MEPs from various political groups.
Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) was the keynote speaker and dozens of MEPs and a large number of parliamentary assistants, diplomats and journalists were present.
Below is the text of speech by Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre:
Dear President Rajavi, dear colleagues, dear friends,
I’m really happy to be with you today to mark the eve of International Human Rights Day. And it is really encouraging to see so many of the friends of free Iran gathered here today. You know, it is some 4 years since Hassan Rouhani came to power as the so-called ‘moderate’ president. And since, we have witnessed a constant deterioration of human rights and a shocking rise in the number of executions ever since. According to Amnesty International, Iran alone accounted for 55%, over half of all recorded executions in the world in 2016. Rouhani’s regime has executed more than 80 women and many more women are in prison because they dare to express their opinions.
According the UN, the executions under Rouhani in Iran last year were the highest in 25 years. This means, even by the regime’s own admission, this is the worst wave of executions since the mass executions of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran in 1988. But the EU seems to have forgotten about, or worse, just ignored these atrocities. Instead of continued cooperation, the EU should be severing all diplomatic and trade relations with Iran until executions end and human rights are respected.
Federica Mogherini, the EU’s High Representative even went to Tehran to celebrate Rouhani’s inauguration for his second term that was in August this year. She was accompanied by Zimbabwe’s now ousted dictator Robert Mugabe and North Korea’s number two Kim Yong Nam. Not good company. And frankly very embarrassing for us in Europe to be represented in that way.
The European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Iran visited Iran last week. The Iranian state media were filled with pictures of EU politicians meeting with the regime’s officials. They could be seen applauding the Iranian government for its role in bringing stability to the region. This is frankly appalling. The delegation’s own statement published on the European Parliament’s website after the visit, failed to mention that during the same week that they were in Tehran, the regime had executed 18 people. Instead they praised the regime for the remarkable assistance provided by Iran to Afghan refugees. They referred to the regime as a crucial partner. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Iranian regime’s systematic abuse of Afghan refugees, using them as pawns in their campaign to back the Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad has been widely reported and shunned by many international organisations. Even the French President, President Macron in an interview last week clearly stated that Iran is not a partner for Europe.
It seems to me that this delegation which works very closely with the Iranian embassy in Brussels has become a lobby group for Tehran within the European Parliament, and this is truly regrettable. We are elected people of Europe. We are elected by the people and we must represent their values which are freedom of speech, women’s rights, human rights and the value of democracy. It is really damaging for us in Europe and the European parliament to be identified with brutal regimes such as Iran.
On the other hand, I’m very pleased to see the Iranian democratic opposition, under the leadership of Maryam Rajavi making so much progress, despite all the repression at home and despite the EU’s appeasement policy towards Iran. Maryam Rajavi’s campaign to seek justice for the families of the victims of the 1988 massacre has been taken up by the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, who has called for an independent investigation into that massacre.
Mrs. Rajavi’s campaign to blacklist the Islamic Revolutionary Guards has led to new sanctions being imposed on the Revolutionary Guards by the United States treasury. This was a real body-blow to this repressive regime. So, we must really thank her and the Iranian democratic opposition she leads for standing up against Islamic fundamentalism and for setting an example for us and for the rest of the world to follow.
At a time when Islamic fundamentalism is really the greatest enemy we face in the world, Maryam Rajavi is providing enormous hope. I believe that the question of defeating this enemy begins with gender equality, with women’s rights, which I want to see accepted as part of Iranian society. And if we could see a democratically-elected Maryam Rajavi in charge of Iran, we could see Islamic fundamentalism defeated.