On Tuesday, January 17, the European Parliament held a debate and plenary session on the current situation in Iran, mainly discussing the nationwide uprising and the European Union’s obligations vis-à-vis the recent developments in Iran.
MEPs from different political stripes unanimously supported the Iranian people’s revolution. Many of them urged the European Council to designate the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a terrorist organization that it is while referring to the organization’s role in killing peaceful protesters and exporting terrorism abroad. They also condemned the ongoing human rights violations in Iran, mainly the recent execution of four detained protesters, and called for holding Tehran accountable.
“[the clerical regime] is a cruel regime, and we know that there are serious restrictions that go beyond moral and political fears. The IRGC is one of the regime’s key pillars and must be put on the list of terrorist organizations,” MEP Javier Zarzalejos from the EPP group said in his remarks on Tuesday.
“Death is part of the regime. At this point, Iran’s regime has sequestered the entire region, and its expansion continues. We have to include the IRGC in the list of terrorist organizations,” said MEP Hermann Tertsch from the VOX party.
While endorsing the Iranian people’s revolution, MEP Hanna Neumann from Germany said: “The regime is under pressure because people in Iran are even willing to die for a brighter future. We, the EU, should not be the ones stabilizing a regime that its own people fight for its downfall. We should put the IRGC on the list of terrorists.”
MEP Frederique Ries from the Renaissance party of France also supported the Iranian people’s uprising, underlining that “We need to be very stringent on the sanctions at the highest level against Iran’s president and the IRGC.”
MEP Yannick Jadot from France’s Green Party called out the corrupt regime ruling Iran. “The revolution in Iran is against a regime that is scared of people and freedom. It is high time to hold the IRGC accountable, which is the most rotten part of a corrupt regime. So this parliament should, and the EU council should do their work and sanction the regime.”
In response, Didier Reynders, EU Commissioner for Justice, who represented Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative, said: The European Council will consider all the options at its disposal, including new restrictive measures related to the #IRGC. We demand full respect for the fundamental rights of Iranian citizens.
The Friends of Free Iran inter-parliamentary group issued a statement prior to Tuesday’s debate, urging the MEPs and the European Council to support the Iranian people and proscribe the IRGC as a terrorist organization. The signatories of this statement also supported the organized resistance movement, which has been the driving force behind the current uprising.
“The nationwide uprising in Iran, which is entering its fifth month, is rooted in more than four decades of the organized resistance of the Iranian people for freedom. Today, Iranian people from all generations and all social strata have taken to the streets, demanding an end to the dictatorship,” the statement reads.
“The Iranian regime and its leaders have perpetuated these crimes with impunity for the past four decades, becoming more brutal without accountability. The regime has openly declared that they would not cooperate with the independent international fact-finding mission as adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in a special session on November 24, 2022.”
The statement also highlighted the Iranian people’s demand to establish a democratic country while rejecting both the current theocracy and the decayed monarchy. “The similarity of slogans and tactics of the protestors, including the chants of ‘Death to the dictator’ and “Death to the oppressor, be it the Shah or the leader (Khamenei),’ indicate to what extent the uprising is organized. It is with these slogans that Iranians have made it clear that they reject all forms of dictatorships, whether religious or monarchy, and want a democratic republic based on the separation of religion from the state. The European Union and European Parliament should stand by their principles and recognize the Iranian people’s right to defend themselves against such a cruel and inhumane regime.”
FOFI also endorsed the ten-point plan laid forward by the Iranian Resistance’s president-elect, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, for the future of Iran. “The ten-point plan of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the Iranian Resistance, which includes respect for international conventions, individual and social rights, full equality between men and women, separation of religion and the state, and a non-nuclear Iran, deserves the support of those who advocate for freedom in Iran.”
“We believe that in this situation, cooperation and negotiation with the Iranian regime cannot be justified under any pretext. The European Union and its member states should blacklist the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist entity for its role in suppressing the people of Iran and its terrorist activities, recall their ambassadors from Iran, and close the regime’s embassies in the EU countries, expelling Tehran’s diplomats and agents” they urged the European Union.
“We declare our readiness to participate in the trials of the arrested protesters together with the lawyers of the Iranian Resistance to ensure that their trials are conducted according to international standards,” the statement concluded.