PARIS , May 6, 2014 (AFP) - Twenty French parliamentarians representing several political groups in the National Assembly on Tuesday questioned the merits of the visits of elected officials to Iran, criticising the fact that they are 'often controlled to the point of imposing unacceptable restrictions on the MPs'.

Member of the Parliamentary Committee for a Democratic Iran ( CPID ) met on Tuesday to 'send a clear message' to their colleagues, a few days after the visit in late April of a delegation of French senators to Iran.

The committee asked in a statement issued after the meeting: "The CPID seriously questions whether these trips, often guided and controlled to the point of imposing unacceptable restrictions on parliamentarians, are consistent with our national interest, our international commitments. And also, what message are we giving to Iranians exposed to daily abuses that we know of.”

The socialist senator of the Haute-Saône, Jean-Pierre Michel, said he regretted the fact that the delegation of French senators held meetings with the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, but were unable to speak to former political prisoners or members of civil society.

The committee added: "It seems impossible that a delegation of French parliamentarians can visit Iran without asking whether the issue of human rights can be addressed, and in particular that this delegation could not meet victims (or relatives of victims), political opponents and civil society prisoners. Any other attitude would be de facto condoning the practices of the regime in terms of human rights."

The President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI opposition in exile) Maryam Rajavi, was invited to the conference and called on politicians to refuse to be manipulated by the regime. She said in a statement from the NCRI: "I call on parliamentarians and business leaders to cancel their trips to Iran, as many have already done in Europe, because they refused to be used as a carte blanche for further crimes."

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