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Improve relations with Iran only when human rights come first

Press release

Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (D66/ALDE) only wants the EU to improve its relations with Iran if this goes hand in hand with an improvement of the human rights situation in the country. Today she voted against a report on the EU strategy towards Iran after the nuclear agreement, which was signed last year. Schaake: "First and foremost, we welcome the nuclear agreement, which was a great success of EU and multilateral diplomacy; these successes are rare these days. The agreement has opened up the possibility to focus on a broader agenda for relations with Iran, which has always been our priority. Human rights and improving the lives of the Iranian population should be at top of that agenda."

Role in the region
Tensions in the Middle East are rising, in which Iran is playing a dangerous role. Schaake: "The Iranian regime still provides support to the murderous government of Assad, who has been slaughtering his own people for years. The Iranian regime also supports the military wing of Hezbollah. Iran's destabilising role in the Middle East must be addressed and condemned by the EU. A similar approach must be taken with regards to other countries, such as Saudi Arabia."

Potential cooperation
Schaake emphasises that the goal is not to push Iran towards isolation. "Under the nuclear deal, part of the sanctions have been lifted and there are definitely opportunities for cooperation, for example on trade, the environment and energy, and we're willing to look into those opportunities. However, this can only happen on the precondition that the Iranian regime changes its course on human rights - including for women, minorities and LGBTIs - the death penalty, torture, press freedom and freedom of expression. We do not see these fundamental conditions reflected in the report, written by a social democratic rapporteur, and that is why we voted against it."

See also Marietje Schaake's intervention on the 24th of October in the plenary of the European Parliament on the EU strategy towards Iran after the nuclear agreement.

You can find the report as adopted in the plenary on 25 October here.