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Eleven Former Foreign Ministers Urge EU and US to Act on Iran Crisis

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In an open letter addressed to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, a group of former foreign ministers expressed grave concerns over the escalating human rights violations and malign activities perpetrated by the Iranian regime.

The letter highlights the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran and the regime’s involvement in activities such as hostage-taking, nuclear pursuit, support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East, and interference in the war in Ukraine.

The former foreign ministers call upon global powers to reassess their Iran policies in alignment with the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people, who have bravely protested against the regime’s oppressive tactics. The letter underscores the regime’s intensified terror tactics, including over 860 executions since the beginning of 2023, and its alarming expansion of malign activities beyond Iran’s borders.

Moreover, the letter calls for solidarity with the Iranian people and their quest for a secular, democratic, and non-nuclear republic as reflected in the Ten-Point Plan of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). It calls for concrete action, including the blacklisting of the IRGC by the European Union, in line with a resolution adopted by the European Parliament in January 2023.

The full text of the aforementioned letter follows:

 

An Open Letter to the EU High Representative and US Secretary of State

To: Hon. Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Hon. Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State

Copy: Hon. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Leaders of the 27 Member States of the European Union

18 January 2024

Dear High Representative Borrell and Secretary Blinken,

We, former foreign ministers of our respective countries, are deeply concerned by the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran and by the regime’s continued malign activities, including hostage-taking, nuclear pursuit, support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East, and involvement in the war in Ukraine. In the interest of global peace and security, we urge world powers to revise their Iran policy and align it with the democratic demands of the Iranian protesters.

Over the past year, the Iranian people have defied a brutal crackdown and fought courageously for their freedom. They deserve our utmost admiration and respect.

The clerical regime has responded with stepped-up terror both at home and abroad. Since the start of 2023, it has executed over 860 people, including dissidents, ethnic minorities, and women.

The regime has also continued its malign activities beyond its borders. Its intelligence agents have been involved in terror plots against opponents, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has provided drones to Russia in its war against Ukraine. In the Middle East, the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is inciting war, while his regime is backing terrorist groups disrupting peace.

The West’s weak response to the regime’s hostage diplomacy, resulting in the release of its convicted diplomat-terrorist and the unfreezing of over $6 billion, has emboldened the mullahs to exert more pressure on Western democracies. There are recent reports that Iranian agents have infiltrated major Western policy centres with the aim of influencing policies to the regime’s favour and demonising the organised opposition.

In addition, the regime’s rapid enrichment of uranium, as confirmed by recent reports of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, raises serious concerns about its nuclear ambitions.

It is evident that the policies of constructive dialogue, engagement, and conciliation have failed to moderate Iran’s behaviour. On the contrary, they have emboldened the regime to engage in more terrorism, hostage-taking, and repression. After more than four decades, it is time to acknowledge the failure of these policies and adopt a new strategy.

The nationwide uprising in Iran, which began in September 2022, has fundamentally changed the dynamics of the country. The Iranian people have made it clear that they reject any form of dictatorship, whether monarchic or religious and demand an end to the ruling theocracy.

The future of Iran should and will be determined by the Iranian people themselves. However, the international community has a responsibility to support the Iranian people’s struggle for human rights and democracy, which will also contribute to peace and security in the world. We join the 125 former world leaders who have endorsed the efforts of the democratic coalition of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The Ten-Point Plan articulated by NCRI President, Mrs Maryam Rajavi, which calls for free elections, freedom of assembly and expression, abolition of the death penalty, gender equality, separation of religion and state, autonomy for Iran’s ethnicities within the territorial integrity of Iran, and a non-nuclear Iran, aligns with our own democratic values.

It is time to hold the regime’s leaders, including Supreme Leader Khamenei and his President Ebrahim Raisi, accountable for crimes against humanity, including the 1988 massacre of some 30,000 political prisoners and the ongoing killings of protesters. We urge you to stand in solidarity with the people of Iran and their aspirations for a secular, democratic, and non-nuclear republic. As a crucial first step, we urge the EU to blacklist the IRGC in line with the 19 January 2023 resolution adopted by the European Parliament.

Yours sincerely,

SIGNED:

Bernard Kouchner – Former Foreign Minister of France

John Baird – Former Foreign Minister of Canada

Yves Leterme – Former Foreign Minister of Belgium

Dick Spring – Former Foreign Minister of Ireland

Andrzej Olechowsk – Former Foreign Minister of Poland

Péter Balázs – Former Foreign Minister of Hungary

Audronius Ažubalis – Former Foreign Minister of Lithuania

Tonio Borg – Former Foreign Minister of Malta

Francis Zammit Dimech – Former Foreign Minister of Malta

Artis Pabriks – Former Foreign Minister of Latvia

Enver Hoxhaj – Former Foreign Minister of Kosovo