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LIVE REPORT: Iran Regime’s Ongoing Crimes Against Humanity – Time for Europe To Act

Online Conference: Iran Regime’s Ongoing Crimes Against Humanity – Time for Europe To Act

Ongoing crimes against humanity in Iran at the hands of the ruling mullahs’ regime should be condemned by the international community and the European Union should live up to its political and moral obligations. This was the call made by a long list of Members of the European Parliament at an online event on Wednesday, October 7, 2020.

Dozens of MEPs will participate in the event to condemn the horrific human rights violations witnessed on a daily basis across Iran. It is high time to stand alongside the Iranian people and support their justified aspirations for a free, democratic, and non-nuclear Iran.

NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi will be the keynote speaker at this event. Mrs. Rajavi has long enjoyed the support of a vast majority of MEPs regarding her ten-point plan for a future Iran.

This page presents a live report of this event. Its content will be updated throughout the day:

Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI

Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the NCRI speaks at the online conference

Dozens of political prisoners are on the death row in Iran. Political prisoners are under torture. Today, you can hear families of thousands of those killed in recent protests, calling on Europe and the world to stand by them.

This regime is facing the anger and discontent of the vast majority of the Iranian people. In addition to thousands of large and small protests, five major uprisings have erupted in Iran since January 2018.

The Resistance Units and courageous youth, through their activities, have had a great impact on shattering the atmosphere of fear and terror. They are paving the way for further protests and uprisings.

The mullahs’ inhuman policies are surprising for some people. Why do they execute a young national champion, Navid Afkari, despite global and domestic protests? Why do they target airports, oil installations and oil tankers? And why don’t they give up their nuclear and missile programs, or their criminal wars in the Middle East?

No more illusions are left, today, about the regime moderating or changing its behavior.
Years ago, the European Troika experienced human rights dialogue, critical dialogue, and constructive engagement with this regime. The outcome of each of these policies was just disastrous. The JCPOA also led to nothing but reinforcement of the IRGC, further suppression of the people of Iran, more warmongering in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, and more terrorism in Europe and other countries.

The big question, however, is this: Why has the regime become so emboldened to engage one of their diplomats directly in a terrorist operation?

One reason is that the regime is desperate in the face of the Iranian people’s protests and the significant role of the Iranian Resistance in the uprisings.

But another reason is that the regime was confident that it would not pay any price for committing such major terrorist crime in the heart of Europe, due to the ongoing policy of appeasement. European intelligence services have repeatedly reported that the regime’s embassies are centers of espionage and operations against dissidents, especially the PMOI.

Maryam Rajavi

Opposition to the extension of the arms embargo against the regime, inaction vis-à-vis human rights abuses in Iran, indifference towards constant movement of the Intelligence Ministry and Qods Force agents in Europe, and giving them free hand to do business are all against the interests of the people of Iran and against global peace and security.

The developments of the past year have shown that the people of Iran are ready to overthrow the clerical regime and establish a pluralist republic based on separation of religion and state and gender equality, abolition of the death penalty respect for the rights of ethnic groups, and a non-nuclear Iran.

In such circumstances, the security of Europe, its long-term economic interests and its relations with the Middle East, depend on its decision to stand by the people of Iran, and not by the mullahs.

On behalf of the Iranian people’s Resistance, I propose a policy with three elements: Human rights for the people of Iran, comprehensive embargo of the religious dictatorship, and recognition of the Iranian people’s Resistance for freedom and democracy.

I urge the Parliament of Europe to urge the Council of Ministers to adopt a binding legislation, to expel the Iranian regime’s agents from the European soil, shut down the regime’s embassies in all EU member states, and designate the IRGC and its proxies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and other countries as terrorist groups.

An independent international mission must investigate the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran and the slaughter of more than 1,500 protesters by Khamenei during the November 2019 uprising. The mission must also investigate the condition of prisons and prisoners in Iran, particularly the political prisoners. We demand the release of all political prisoners.

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Juan Fernando López Aguilar, MEP from Spain

Juan Fernando López Aguilar, MEP from Spain, speaks at the online conference

Iranian women face discrimination. Iranian law denies freedom of religion. We have a political and legal duty to stand up for human rights in Iran.

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Rasa Juknevičienė, MEP from Lithuania

Rasa Juknevičienė, MEP from Lithuania speaks at the online conference

Over the past year, human rights violations by the Iranian regime have been on full display, exposing the mullahs’ brutal suppression. The Amnesty International report in early September on the torture and treatment of the November 2019 protests detainees is shocking. Increasing arbitrary arrests and torturing young people who are Iran’s elite and assets that any country would have been proud to have, in order to get forced confessions is vicious. Navid Afkari, the 27-year-old wrestling champion, who would have been promoted and taken care of by any other country to bring home a gold medal, was savagely tortured and executed by the regime for defying the mullahs and participating in anti-government protests, despite calls from around the globe to save his life. The regime resorts to these types of crimes out of desperation because Iran’s situation is explosive. Daily protests continue unabated in Iran

The message is clear. On the one hand the Iranian people don’t want this regime and are vehemently opposed to it and on the other hand, a powerful alternative exists, meaning that change in Iran is imminent and the regime is terrified by this ultimate fate.

Given these circumstances, what should our policy be in Europe vis-à-vis the Iranian regime? We must stand by the Iranian people as doing so is defending our democratic principles. We must stand firm against the regime, condemn its suppression with the strongest terms and hold it to account. We should not be deceived by the regime’s lies about the lack of an alternative. The time to act is now.

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Jan Zahradil, MEP from the Czech Republic, President of the ECR Party (2009 – 2020), Vice Chair, European Parliament International Trade Committee

Jan Zahradil, MEP from the Czech Republic, speaks at the online conference

We’re at a crucial point in history. The region is unstable. There are more conflicts. We should pay more attention to what’s going on in Iran. The very core of the Iranian regime is not changing and won’t change without pressure. It’s a fundamentalist regime, a dictatorship, a brutal theocracy. It is contrary to basic human rights concepts.

Unfortunately, the EU approach didn’t change much either. Many EU governments are underestimating the nature of this regime and the danger it presents to Europe and democratic countries across the world.

We must push the EU and Borrell to change this policy. The EU must not just watch. It must act. We can also take measures at national level. We must also take action at the level of European institutions.

I see no reason why we shouldn’t start to cooperate more closely with the opposition. I believe that once they take power in Iran, they will be able to turn Iran to a fully democratic and transparent country that fights for equality and against corruption.
We must give them every possible support.

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Gianna Gancia, MEP from Italy

Gianna Gancia, MEP from Italy, speaks at the online conference

Political prisoners are easily killed under torture. In its latest report, Amnesty International speaks about an “epidemic of torture” in Iranian prisons. Torture is a routine matter in all detention centers and prisons whether of the security forces or the Intelligence Ministry or in the IRGC. There is no law and no due process. Everything is arbitrary. As recently revealed by the NCRI, there are secret and unknown torture centers where the torturers can do anything they want with full impunity. This is why it is so vital to put pressure on the regime to open the gates of its dungeons to an international fact-finding mission.

Therefore, I insist that this is an obligation of the EU. With such revealing reports, the situation of the political prisoners is not an internal matter. It is truly an international matter. If today there are European dual citizens taken as hostages in Iran, it is because the EU did not speak with the regime in the right language of firmness. If today the EU does not respond to Mrs. Rajavi’s call, there is no doubt the regime will take more hostages from us and then it will be too late to do anything.

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Antonio López-Istúriz White, MEP from Spain and Secretary General of the EPP group

Antonio López-Istúriz White, MEP from Spain and Secretary General of the EPP group, speaks at the online conference

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Veronika Vrecionová, MEP from the Czech Republic

Veronika Vrecionová, MEP from the Czech Republic, speaks at the online conference

As we speak about Iran, we witnessed the execution of Navid Afkari. He was one of many who were sentenced to death based on false accusations and confessions under torture. The Iranian regime is spreading hatred and terrorism in the region and beyond. I support the Iranian people who want freedom and justice in their country.

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Marco Zanni, MEP from Italy and Chair of the ID Group

Marco Zanni, MEP from Italy and Chair of the ID Group, speaks at the online conference

In the last decade, the Iranian regime has had a horrible record of human rights abuses. Demonstrations were harshly suppressed by authorities and many protesters were sentenced to death. The execution of Navid Afkari is the latest manifestation of the Iranian regime’s cruelty. The regime has total disregard for humanitarian standards.

The execution of Navid Afkari was a clear admission of weakness by the regime. Supporting the Iranian people in their desire for freedom will expose the Iranian regime’s weakness.

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Milan Zver, MEP from Slovenia

Milan Zver, MEP from Slovenia, speaks at the online conference

I’ve been closely following the developments in Iran. Reports indicate that Iranian security forces have used hard force in arresting more than 7,000 people and killed hundreds in connection with the protests.

The operations of Iranian security forces on European soil are also of great concern and need to be stopped. I strongly condemn any acts of violence committed by the Iranian regime against the Iranian people, and I am deeply concerned by reports of several fatalities.

I support Mrs. Rajavi’s commitment to establish democracy in the Iranian society.
The Iranian regime must be sanctioned and pushed to stop the torture and execution of political prisoners. It’s our duty to stand by the people of Iran.

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Ivan Štefanec, MEP from Slovakia

Ivan Štefanec, MEP from Slovakia, speaks at the online conference

An on-going crime against humanity is happening in Iran. There has been no considerable improvement in the human rights situation. If any, it has worsened. Executions have never stopped. Lack of freedom of speech and assembly, suppression of women and religious minorities continue persistently.

The recent shocking report of Amnesty International on torture sounds the alarm. Iran is on the eve of a great explosion and we have seen how this regime has brutally suppressed the protesters, killing them on the spot or taking them to its dungeons to be killed under torture or executed. This is the continuation of the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners which remains unpunished.

Human rights should not be seen as a secondary issue which can be overlooked when trying to save the JCPOA or other agreements with this tyrannical regime. Human rights should come first.

Our European democratic principles demand that the EU takes the lead in defending the Iranian people’s human rights and protesting against the regime for its atrocities. We cannot use soft language to call for restraint when the repressive regime was killing the impoverished protesters in the hundreds during the November 2019 protests in Iran.

There is no way that the appalling human rights situation will change if there is no independent investigation and accountability. This is the kind of policy and action we expect to see from the EU.

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Derk Jan Eppink, MEP from the Netherlands

Derk Jan Eppink, MEP from the Netherlands, speaks at the online conference

I was shocked by the execution of Navid Afkari for his participation in anti-government protests. Unfortunately, we’re witnessing the EU’s appeasement policy with Iran. The result is that today we’re seeing an ever-more aggressive regime that is not only victimizing its citizens but exporting terror to the world. The EU is falling into Iranian state propaganda that sanctions are hurting the people. These sanctions are targeting the regime’s malign behavior.

When sanctions were lifted following the 2015 agreement, the money only ended up in the pockets of the IRGC and the mullahs. Ordinary citizens actually became poorer due to government corruption. It is shocking that the EU is considering lifting the arms embargo against the regime. This is bad for our own security.

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Benoît Biteau, MEP from France

Benoît Biteau, MEP from France, speaks at the online conference

Iran is the first state in terms of executions per capita. We can’t close our eyes to the events in Iran. A month ago, Navid Afkari was executed secretly without his family, lawyers and even himself being warned. How can we close our eyes on these events?

Imprisoned protesters in Iran must be freed. Iran is the only country that executes children. Their situation is even more dramatic. I will continue to denounce executions in Iran.

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Patrizia Toia, MEP from Italy

Patrizia Toia, MEP from Italy, speaks at the online conference

In Iran, misogyny dominates the constitution. Women are systematically oppressed by the regime. They have no human rights. The suicide rate is highest among Iranian women. They are tortured. Even pregnant women have been executed by the regime. Women are contracting Covid-19 in Iran’s prisons.

But none of this suffering has reduced these women and they continue to fight and have an active role in Iran’s uprisings. Female voices dominate demonstrations. They are everywhere where you need courage against the regime. This is because they have a model, a resistance movement led by Madam Rajavi. She’s a woman of courage. She inspires Iranian women who want freedom and justice. She’s also an inspiration for all of us. We support her and the cause of freedom and democracy in Iran.

We demand an international inquiry to visit Iranian prisoners. We must make sure human rights are number one where other countries are concerned. We must give priority to human rights rather than economic interests.

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Alessandra Moretti, MEP from Italy

Alessandra Moretti, MEP from Italy, speaks at the online conference

The violation of human rights has not stopped in Iran. The situation in Iran is catastrophic. It is the first country for executions in the world. We must not forget the great number of women and minors executed in Iran.

We can’t forget that many prisoners were not allowed to meet families and lawyers before being killed. We can’t forget what happened to 30,000 political prisoners who were massacred in 1988. We can’t forget the deaths of 1,500 protesters killed in November 2019. We can’t forget the sacrifices made by many Iranian women for their rights.

Women can’t travel alone, can’t go to stadiums, can’t choose who to marry. One hundred women have been executed during [regime President Hassan] Rouhani’s tenure. There is no respect for individual rights. Our fight for to abolish the death penalty is not just to save lives. It has to do with the terrible conditions that prisoners are exposed to. These conditions have even worsened during the pandemic.

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Michèle Alliot-Marie, former MEP and French Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs

Michèle Alliot-Marie, former MEP and French Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs, speaks at the online conference

In the coming years, Iran will be able to find the role of stabilization and peace in this unstable region. I deplore what is going on in Iran today. It is in contradiction of the values I hold dear and the values of the EU. I regret the fact that those European bodies that defend democracy are remaining silent on these issues. Of course it’s for the Iranians to decide what kind of government should rule Iran. But it is our responsibility to denounce execution, torture, arbitrary imprisonment, terrorism—including on European soil.

Having been an MEP, I know there are a number of debates. But what strikes me is that the events happening in Iran are not being strongly condemned. I believe it is indispensable for this kind of behavior to be condemned by European bodies.

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Stanislav Polčák, MEP from the Czech Republic

Stanislav Polčák, MEP from the Czech Republic, speaks at the online conference

We usually deal with human rights violations and terrorist activities of the Iranian regime as two separate issues whereas the two are two sides of the same coin. The view and approach that allows the regime to suppress peaceful protests of the people, killing more than 1,500 of them, and arresting and torturing thousands of them in November 2019, is the same view and approach that allows it to plot the bombing of the gathering of 100,000 people in Villepinte, near Paris, to kill many innocent people. The regime is doing all this for one reason only: for its own survival.

Many of the regime’s so-called diplomats have been engaged in terrorist plots and were always able to get away with their crimes. But now, for the first time in the field of terrorism, its diplomat has been arrested and will soon be tried in Brussels. This is not just the trial of an individual, but the trial of a regime. The diplomat who prepares such a terrorist operation at a country’s embassy in Europe works under the Foreign Minister, and the Foreign Minister is under the President, and all work under [regime Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei.

While judicial proceedings are underway independent of any political influence, it is time for the EU High Representative and governments in Europe to end business as usual with this regime. The regime in Iran must be accountable for such heinous acts in Europe and punitive measures must be adopted. Anything less would be give-in to state terrorism.

In our view, if the European Union is not at the forefront of this issue, it has trampled upon European democratic principles. We have been criticizing and protesting against the policy of the EU in this Parliament for more than a decade. Now, as we approach an imminent social explosion in Iran, we want this disagreement to reach a closure. Nothing justifies wanting to tolerate and appease the regime. Today, appeasement with this brutal regime is a disgrace to the EU and against the security of Europe. We are warning that the EU must seriously reconsider its policy towards this regime.

The EU is at a crossroad. Elected officials at various EU institutions and national governments can no longer delegate their responsibilities for making meaningful decisions to those who fail to realize the true nature of this regime both internally and externally. The EU must stand with the Iranian people and their democratic alternative, the National Council of Resistance of Iran under the leadership of Maryam Rajavi.

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Hermann Tertsch, MEP from Spain and Vice-Chair of the ECR group

Hermann Tertsch, MEP from Spain and Vice-Chair of the ECR group, speaks at the online conference

I think it’s very important that in this year we have another gathering in force, searching in ways in the fight for creating the spaces of liberty in Iran that we strongly need to get rid of the criminal regime, which is again showing the worst face and the incapability of every way of having a humane treatment of the population of the Iranian population, 40 years now of tyrannical regime of the mullahs.

And there’s no improvement in the lives of the Iranians. And there are no claims of freedom. We had just in November last year for the expression of the repression of the regime. Over 1,500 young Iranians died in the streets of the cities in Iran, asking for freedom, asking for having dignity, and for having the rights that all citizens of the world should have, which are defended from here, from Europe.

That’s what Europe has to be and that’s one of our commitments. Our commitment of having a Europe far more belligerent in defending the rights of the Iranian people and in fighting against the regime of the mullahs.

We don’t want any appeasement which is so dear to some here in this Parliament. We want no appeasement with this dictatorship, with this tyrannical regime in Tehran. We want a very resolute search for an end of this regime and for a peaceful and democratic Iran in the future. That’s the right of Iranians and that is a right which we have the pride and that we are obliged to fight for it here in Europe and all over the democratic West.

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Javier Zarzalejos, MEP from Spain and Secretary-General of the Spanish Prime Minister’s Office (1996-2004)

Javier Zarzalejos, MEP from Spain, speaks at the online conference

Let me tell you that even speaking of the death penalty in this context seems inappropriate to me because it’s not a penalty. It is state murder.

So far this year, the Rouhani regime has executed 198 people. Some time ago, the international community was shocked by the execution of the 27 year old Iranian Navid Afkari. My thoughts are with the political prisoners who are currently subject to torture, forced confessions and sentenced to death.

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Lars Patrick Berg, MEP from Germany

Lars Patrick Berg, MEP from Germany, speaks at the online conference

I was appalled to hear that the mullahs’ regime executed young Iranian national sports hero Navid Afkari despite so much protests and pleas by political leaders and sports figures all around the world. Many German athletes, sports champions and lawmakers joined the call to stop executions in Iran.

Now, several other pro-democracy protesters have been sentenced to death and could be executed any time now. I urge that this trend of executions stop. Wanting freedom is not a crime. This total disregard for human life is very outrageous.

Until now, as the Iranian opposition has stated, 108 women have been executed by the regime since Hassan Rouhani has been in power. The use of the death sentence for political purposes must be stopped and such medieval practices must cease.

It is time for action by the world’s democratic governments. Words of condemnation are not enough, we need concrete actions.

We in Europe must show to the Iranian people that we support their fight for freedom and democracy and continue to urge the international community to bring pressure on the unrepresentative regime of the mullahs.

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Franc Bogovič, MEP from Slovenia

Franc Bogovič, MEP from Slovenia, speaks at the online conference

Mrs. Rajavi’s ten-point plan represents everything Iran needs. We call on the EU to hold the regime to account for its serious human rights abuses. I’m concerned about the expiring arms embargo that will further empower the regime’s terrorist activities. This will not only be a threat to the people of Iran and the stability of the region, but also a threat to the security of Europe.

Words will not stop or counter the actions of the regime. The EU must take concrete actions. Leaders and governments must deny the regime resources it needs through sanctions and arms embargo. The regime will only be persuaded by firm action and not by hollow condemnations.

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David Lega, MEP from Sweden, member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and shadow rapporteur of the EPP group on Iran

David Lega, MEP from Sweden, speaks at the online conference

It is the very injustices and human rights abuses that the Iranian regime commits against its own people that brings us all together today. The Iranian regime is desperate to control speech, ideas and indeed life itself.

And the protests in Iran signal that the Iranian people have had enough, they have had enough with the regime’s economic failures. They have had enough with the kleptocrats and they have had enough with a regime that denies them basic, fundamental human dignity that comes from each of us as a nature of our humanity. Despite the critical situation of the pandemic, Iran has continued to carry out executions of prisoners and still refuses to release prisoners, particularly prisoners of conscience, as sanitary conditions have proven to be alarming and threatening.

The regime has launched a large scale arrest of its opponents and members of the democratic opposition, which reports daily on the situation of coronavirus in the country. And I am gravely concerned over the ill treatment and torture of those who have been arrested over the past two years. A large number of prisoners arrested in protests have been murdered while in custody. And in almost all cases, Iranian authorities claimed that the prisoners had committed suicide. That is the utmost opposite of human dignity.

The death penalty is unacceptable under all circumstances and cases with no exception. It is an inhumane punishment and represents a denial of human dignity and integrity. The European Union has condemned the recent executions in the strongest terms, but more action is required. Inaction is counterproductive and will be interpreted by Iran as a green light from your European Union vis-a-vis Tehran’s egregious human rights abuses. EU relations with Iran cannot tolerate anything less than a halt to executions and clear progress on human rights.

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Jaak Madison, MEP from Estonia and member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs

Jaak Madison, MEP from Estonia, speaks at the online conference

We hear executions continue in Iran. We cannot accept this.

We also see how the regime has launched a brutal crackdown against popular protests demanding change and freedom, which are taking place frequently in Iran since 2018. We hear their demand to get rid of this corrupt regime, but what is the EU really doing to help them?

We cannot continue business as usual with such a state. Soft words to such a regime when we know they are killing anyone who expresses discontent or opposition. This is not the EU. The EU should say you either end this barbaric treatment or we don’t have anything to do with you.

We have today evidence that Iran’s state terrorism has reached European soil. We need to ensure that the regime does not continue such harmful activities on European soil
This is the direct result of the policy of appeasement and sanction relief pursued by the EU, which culminated in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that essentially left Europe paralyzed in the face of Iran’s growing destabilizing activities, terrorism and domestic repression.

So the time has come for the EU and its member states to revise and alter this appeasement policy in favor of a firm policy toward Iran, because like any other dictator in the history, Iran’s regime only understands the language of firmness.

This firm policy should hold the regime to account for its terrorism in Europe and domestic repression through sanctions and downgrading diplomatic relations. The EU must even consider closing Iran’s embassies, because the regime is using its diplomatic missions to carry out espionage and terrorist plots against Iranian dissidents and activists in a state-sanctioned effort to silence all opposition no matter where they are as popular protests against the regime grow across Iran.

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Petras Auštrevičius, MEP from Lithuania, chairman of the Delegation for relations with Afghanistan, and member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs

Petras Auštrevičius, MEP from Lithuania, speaks at the online conference

Over the last four decades, the present regime in Iran has committed many crimes against humanity. Breaching human rights, disrespecting citizens rights and opposing opponents. That’s the way the mullahs’ regime is trying to sustain the situation in Iran. International crimes should be added.

The recent execution of Navid Afkari, a champion, was one more case in which the mullahs were trying to scare people to show what might be awaiting others if they raise their voice and stand for human rights.

The United Nations should send a monitoring mission to Iran as soon as possible. We have to monitor the situation. We have to report and we have to defend human rights in Iran by standing alongside the Iranian people.

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Radka Maxová, MEP from the Czech Republic

Radka Maxová, MEP from the Czech Republic, speaks at the online conference

Women are the first target of this regime. Women prisoners are in terrible conditions in Iran. Serious action is needed. The regime cannot be allowed to continue violating the rights of its people. The EU should use its power to help the Iranian opposition.

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Anna Bonfrisco, MEP from Italy and member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs

Anna Bonfrisco, MEP from Italy, speaks at the online conference

I am troubled seeing the great Iranian people powerless in the face of this regime’s actions. We must help those who raise their voice. Media and political pressure must continue. The executions in Iran are shameful. I want to tell the people of Iran that you’re not alone. We must help young Iranians take back their future.

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Anna Fotyga, MEP from Poland, Secretary General of the ECR group and member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and former minister

Anna Fotyga, MEP from Poland, speaks at the online conference

Almost one year ago, in the course of mass protests by the Iranian people, we were able to debate in Parliament the violent actions of the mullahs’ regime against the people. The majority of MEPs condemned the mullahs’ actions against the people, including the killing and imprisonment of thousands of people. The whole situation has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The situation of political prisoners is a real disaster.

We stand by the people of Iran. We will support them in the European Parliament. It is extremely important for the civil society of the country to find their way to show strength to enable the people to take care of their country. It is in the interests of the entire international community. We support changes in Iran, to give citizens their rights and abolish the death penalty, especially against minors.

We would also like Iran to see prosperous economic developments. Unfortunately, after the JCPOA and the de-freezing of the funds, benefits were provided to the upper echelons of power in Iran at the expense of ordinary people.

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Tunne Kelam, former MEP

Tunne Kelam, former MEP, speaks at the online conference

It is crucial to realize that democratic countries are part of the solution. In fact, they bear direct responsibility for the continuation of Tehran’s inhuman and aggressive dictatorship. Western ambiguity, pragmatic economic interests and double-standards are helping prolong the mullahs’ bloody rule. We need to realize that every additional day of this regime means new arrests, new executions and new suppression.

It is high time to conclude that the 2015 nuclear deal has failed the expectations that were cherished in the West. It has shown that the Tehran regime has absolutely no intention of meeting its commitments, or to become more humane. On the contrary, the mullahs have used the deal to gather strength and intensify their aggression across the Middle East. Today, it has become clear that only regime change can make Iran a normal, friendly and nuclear-free country. Madame Rajavi’s ten-point plan is the only realistic way to achieve this goal.

The change in Iran is the sovereign right of the Iranians. But it can be advanced by a change of EU policy. As a former MEP, I am disappointed with EU policy which has kept appeasing the mullahs despite so many horrific crimes. The EU has mostly looked aside or just paid lip-service in reacting to these crimes.

We must react not by whispering our concern but through concrete actions. We must impose sanctions on this regime for their human rights breaches or risk losing the EU’s own credibility. We must recall our ambassadors from Tehran to protest the regime’s inhuman behavior. The EU has to demand unhindered access to Iran’s prisons, especially to the prisoners held since the November 2019 protests.

The Iranian nation is fed up with the ruling theocracy. The people of Iran want a free and peaceful country. They deserve their rights and dignity to be restored.

Therefore, it is the duty of every citizen of the free world, especially politicians, to support the Iranian people’s aspirations for democracy and freedom.

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Struan Stevenson, former MEP, president of the Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-14) and chairman of the EP Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (2004-14)

Struan Stevenson, former MEP, speaks at the online conference

Sixty million Iranians are now living below the international poverty line. The grinding deprivation and penury has driven people to sell their livers, kidneys and even their corneas for cash. Forty-one years of venal corruption, dim-witted incompetence and brutal oppression by the fascist Iranian government has brought this once prosperous and successful nation to its knees.

When the theocratic regime announced a massive threefold hike in gasoline prices in November 2019, millions of poor Iranians took to the streets in protest. The mullahs’ predictable reaction was to order their Gestapo, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards corps (IRGC) and their internal security thugs – the Basij – to brutally suppress the nationwide uprising. 1,500 protesters were killed, thousands more were wounded. The IRGC dragged injured protesters from their hospital beds. Over 12,000 were arrested and thrown into the regime’s medieval prisons. Dozens have been sentenced to death for daring to challenge the authority of the fascist dictatorship. The execution of political prisoners has become almost a daily event.

Resistance Units of the main, democratic opposition movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), have been formed in every town and city across the country.

The execution of the young wrestling champion Navid Afkari, despite a global campaign to stop his judicial murder, has sparked renewed fury across the nation.

As resistance to the mullahs continues to grow throughout Iran, there are increasing demands for the international community to end their policy of appeasement and show their support for the Iranian people. The ongoing torture and execution of political prisoners is a crime against humanity and continues because the United Nations has singularly failed to hold the mullahs’ regime to account for the massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, mostly supporters of the PMOI/MEK, in 1988.

Although there is irrefutable evidence of this horrendous crime, which even senior figures in the regime openly admit and boast about, no one has yet been indicted for this horror, one of the worst cases of genocide of the late twentieth century.

The revolution is coming and when it does, the mullahs will face justice and those in the international community who have sought to appease them will be held answerable and shamed in the court of public opinion.

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Paulo Casaca, former MEP

Paulo Casaca, former MEP, speaks at the online conference

The execution of Navid Afkari was a state crime. This is a continuation of the genocide of 30,000 political prisoners under orders from Khomeini in 1988. We also witnessed the assassination of Kazem Rajavi by this regime two years later.

While the genocide in Rwanda has come to trial in an international tribunal, this has not been the case with Iran. The 1988 massacre must be brought to justice. The struggle to bring this criminal regime before trial for genocide must continue.

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Kimmo Sasi, former Finnish MP

Kimmo Sasi, former Finnish MP, speaks at the online conference

The Iranian people protest because of the terrible conditions in their country. The dictatorship is very afraid. The Iranian dictatorship is desperate and that is why they try to crush their own people. This is why protesters have been murdered and many are in prisons today. Iranian authorities tortured Navid Afkari for many weeks. He was finally executed.

What must be done? We need economic sanctions. But we must also take care to make sure the regime doesn’t try to pursue back trade. There must be sanctions on the people who are involved in the murder of the people. If they travel abroad, they must be arrested and sentenced for their crimes.

EU countries must look at Iranian diplomats in their countries. They are terrorists. European diplomats in Iran must go to prisons and look at demonstrators and help them and make their cases known.

There must be an investigation into mass murders in Iran, including the executions of 1988. Those who are found guilty must be tried.

The Iranian people must take their fate into their own hands. The only solution is regime change in Iran.

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Alejo Vidal Quadras, former vice-president of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2014

Alejo Vidal Quadras, former vice-president of the European Parliament, speaks at the online conference

We all have a very serious concern about the inaction of the EU and the High Representative. The two recent cases of political prisoners Navid Afkari and Mostafa Salehi are of concern. Amnesty International called for a halt to their execution. The EU did nothing. They waited until they were executed, and then they tweeted their condemnation. Navid and Mostafa could have been alive today if the EU and Member States had taken concrete actions to stop these murders. They could have done many things to put pressure on the regime, but they didn’t, and Navid and Mostafa are dead.

There are many members of the European Parliament who could not join us today but share our concerns. Many of us asked the High Representatives of our times to act firmly to the brutality of the regime, but they didn’t listen to us, like today, and they did absolutely nothing.

The EU is following the situation in Belarus, and rightly so. They condemn and issue statements. But why are they silent on Iran, where protesters are executed, tortured to death, hanged. Why does Belarus deserve the attention of Mr. Borell but not Iran? Can someone explain this mystery?

Why do they send a fact-finding mission to Venezuela but not one to Iran? Why do the EU and UN stay silent on the savagery of the Iranian regime? To save the nuclear deal? At the price of people’s lives in Iran? Does the nuclear deal deserve a bloodshed?

The Iranian people have the right to protest according to the UN Charter. Where are our European principles? How can European leaders look into the eyes of Iranian people who are suffering under tyranny and just do nothing? Can they look into the eye of the children of Mostafa Salehi and tell them they did nothing while their father was being hanged?

This must stop. Many politicians demand a firm policy toward Iran. The European External Action Service must take concrete actions and support the Iranian people until they get rid of the brutal regime of Ali Khamenei.

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Isabella Tovaglieri, MEP from Italy, and member of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

Isabella Tovaglieri, MEP from Italy, speaks at the online conference

The EU and UN must take action on Iran. The people of Iran want change. The economic situation is desperate. The covid situation has rendered the situation worse because of the regime’s mismanagement and hiding from the people.

Iran has rejected help from the international community on the coronavirus situation. Iran is repressing demonstrations. I’m disappointed that a woman is invoking a soft line toward the regime. The regime is especially violent toward women.

Repression against women has worsened since they decided to stand up against the abuse of security forces. A fact-finding mission is needed to visit prisoners in Iran’s prisons. The regime’s law considers women inferior to men.

We cherish the values of freedom, and we cannot accept the breach of rights by a hypocrite regime. We must support Iranian women and safeguard our values.

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Jean-Pierre Muller, former mayor of Magny-en-Vexin and member of Departmental Council of Val d’Oise

Jean-Pierre Muller, member of Departmental Council of Val d’Oise, speaks at the online conference

Today, the mullahs’ regime is a dictatorship and a criminal regime. It is a toxic regime that is dangerous for the region and the world. It threatens the world with terrorism. Things cannot continue and have to change. The world is not acting enough as the situation deteriorates in Iran. We must act strongly and positively.

The PMOI is the number one alternative in Iran. We have to restore human rights, continue the embargo to stop the mullahs. We have to expel all those so-called diplomats. We must carry out a fact-finding mission to know more about the massacres of this regime. This regime is one of the most dangerous in the world because of its violation of the most fundamental human rights.

We must also understand that the mullahs’ Iran is not the real Iran. This regime is really dictatorial and is staining our world.

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Alejo Vidal-Quadras concluded the conference

Alejo Vidal-Quadras

Alejo Vidal-Quadras concluded the conference by saying:

National parliaments and the European Parliament must be the spearhead of the effort to support democracy in Iran because the EU and the High Representative do very little.
The situation in Iran has come to a level of oppression, of brutality and criminal suppression by the regime that it is untenable. It must end.

We have been fighting for years, together with you, Mrs. Rajavi and the Iranian Resistance, to change this terrible situation. It is time that national governments and the European External Action service take action. If they do nothing, every innocent life lost in Iran at the hands of the regime will be a responsibility of those who do nothing.

The evil men win when the good men do nothing.