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10 Mar 2011


Global Europe

EP underlines need to broaden focus of EU-Iran relations to address human rights concerns

The European Parliament today adopted a report on EU-Iran relations, the first such report in 10 years. After the vote, the chair of the EP's Iran delegation Barbara Lochbihler (Green MEP) said:

"The EP has today outlined the right direction for EU-Iran relations by proposing a broader and more coordinated policy for the EU's relations with the Iranian regime. Human rights and economic issues must play a central part of EU-Iran relations, which cannot simply focus on Iran's nuclear programme or stability in Afghanistan.

"With negotiations on EU-Iran agreements on hold, the almost exclusive focus of EU policy is Iran's nuclear programme. This ignores the systematic targeting and harassment of human rights defenders, women activists and members of civil society, as well as the brutal repression of political pluralism in Iran.

"A central tenet of EU foreign policy is the promotion of the core values and fundamental rights on which the EU is founded and this should be much more to the fore in the EU's relations with Iran. An important step in this regard would be for the EU to introduce sanctions (such as travel bans or asset freezes) against human rights offenders and not just on the nuclear issue, as is currently the case. It is important that any sanctions are targeted however and do not harm the Iranian people, as this would undoubtedly be counterproductive.

"The Greens have consistently opposed military intervention and we welcome the support of the EP, which has today ruled out the military option. Clearly, it is up to the Iranian people and civil society to realise a democratic transformation in Iran and the EU should do all it can to support them to this end. As members of the Iranian opposition have repeatedly emphasised, complete isolation would be the wrong path."
Richard More O'Ferrall,
Press and media officer,
Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament
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