European Parliament Delegation’s Trip to Iran, a Despicable Visit
by MANSUR RASTANI, PHD
October 26, 2012
Once again the oppressed Iranian people were shocked to hear that European Parliament (EP) will soon be embarking on an official visit of their lawmakers to Iran. The visit is scheduled from October 27 to November 02, 2012. The question on every Iranian mind is: "How can they even think of going to Tehran at this stage of time?" It seems that there is a sever discord between European Parliament and European Union proceedings when it comes to Iran policy. On October 15, 2012, EU member States have imposed new sanctions on Iran for its reckless behavior that endangers global security, a dramatic reminder that relations with Iran cannot be business as usual. These punitive steps are meant to persuade Iran to engage constructively by addressing the concerns of the International community. However the trip of EP delegation while basically undermines such EU's efforts and consequently results in the detraction from their achievement of broader objectives, it would also send incongruous messages to Tehran, making the regime to callously exploit the visit for propaganda purposes.
Per July 2012 EP delegation meeting minutes , the EP delegates plan to discuss with Iranian leaders several issues, including human rights, nuclear negotiations, and drug trafficking. For more than 3 decades the state of human rights in the Islamic regime of Iran has been criticized both by Iranians and international human right activists, writers, and NGOs. The United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Commission have condemned prior and ongoing abuses in Iran in published critiques and several resolutions. Such abuses include unfair trials, torture of prisoners, extrajudicial executions, persecution of religious and ethnic minorities, restrictions on freedom of religion and gender quality, execution of offenders under 18 years of age, repression of journalists, cruel treatment of human rights defenders, and restrictions on freedom of speech and the press. Just a few days ago Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran said that the Iranian government is responsible for conspicuously rights violations. He expressed his concern about the exacerbating status of human rights situation in Iran. Iran has never allowed independent bodies to look into its human rights record. Shaheed's report is based on some 240 interviews with individuals who have reported violations of their rights. The Iranian regime has made it clear on numerous occasions that they do not care for dialogue with the West. No self-respecting Western officials should offer any legitimacy to the Iranian regime which defiantly ignores the will of the international community.
Years, if not decades, of diplomacy on deterring Iran's nuclear program has led nowhere. Iran continues to build up enrichment capacity; it has already refined uranium to a fissile concentration of 20%, which let the country to take a significant technical step closer to the 90 percent concentration needed for bombs, explaining the growing concern about the Islamic regime's stockpile of the material. The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), this month said Iran would currently need at least two to four months to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for one nuclear bomb, and additional time to make the device itself. US and allies has long been monitoring the situation in Iran, holding numerous meetings for diplomatic negotiations with the regime, trying carrot-and-stick policies in their conciliations, and issuing countless punitive resolutions, a long-shot approach aimed at yielding a collaborated solution that has eluded them for more than a decade. A nuclear-armed Iran will seek regional dominance and be a threat to peace and stability in the Middle East and to the world. Only adopting a policy, which leads to a collapse of the power structure of this terrorist regime, would put an end to its escalating nuclear threat.
Iran is a transit route for narcotics smuggled from neighboring Afghanistan, which produces more than 90 percent of the world's opium, the raw ingredient of heroin. Reports state that Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is running Iran drug trade. Based on remarks by former regime officials, members of Iran's RGC have taken control of drug trafficking throughout the Islamic regime, using billions of dollars to institute links with a global crime network. Through the process of drug trafficking, regime provides for its radical proxies and funds terrorist activities. Iran's drug policy is just a matter of hypocrisy, outside the IRGC monopoly, those caught dealing drugs have been dealt with ruthlessly by the regime, it is reported that in several cities there have been mass, secret executions to wipe out chronic drug problems. Those killed mostly have come from poor rural backgrounds. Furthermore, trumped-up drugs charges have also been used to execute political prisoners and opposition supporters. Labeling political prisoners, or executed individuals as drug traffickers is tactic of Islamic regime and the world is well aware of it. Last year, they hanged a Dutch woman on trumped up charges of involvement in drug smuggling, when in fact she had been originally arrested for participating in a political protest. The Dutch government closed its embassy and withdrew its ambassador in protest. Iran's publicly-declared commitment to fighting the war against drugs is both a smokescreen and a charade. Getting help from such hypocrite regime in combating trafficking and heroin production in the region would not only perceive as carrying water in a sieve but would only help the IRGC to promote its drug trafficking network.
Among the most disturbing meetings on the draft schedule for the Europeans is a visiting session with some of the regime's leaders including Sadegh Larigani, Kazem Jalali, and Ali Akbar Hasemi Rafsanjani. Sadegh Larijani is the Iranian Chief Justice, who was sanctioned by the EU last March for his role in human rights violations. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, is a former president of Iran. An Argentinian judge issued an arrest warrant for him, in 2006, for his role in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people. He is the one who said: "The use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything; however it would only harm the Islamic world." Kazem Jalali, Chairman of the Friendship Group between the Majlis and the European Parliament, is said to "boast "on his website of his membership of the Bassidj paramilitary force and IRGC, which is on the EU and US terrorist list. In a recent speech he praised the victory of Hezbollah over the "Zionist regime" in the 33-day war in Lebanon, claiming it to be one of Iran's "greatest achievements". Per Article 6 and 11, of the EU Treaty, EP delegation activities shall contribute to promoting in third countries the values on which the European Union is founded, namely the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law. How would EP delegation justify contributing such promotions while scheduling to meet the Iranian parliamentary members many of whom are among commanders of the disreputable IRGC that have been involved in horrifying human rights abuses, drug trafficking, and act of terrorism across the globe?
The July 2012 EP delegation meeting minutes assert that the visit will provide the opportunity for dialogue between the two delegations and should be regarded as a bridge building exercise. Three decades of pressure by world community on Iran hasn't made the regime change its conduct. The international community, including U.S., EU, UN Security Council have reached a consensus on the following concerns regarding the behavior of the Iran's clerical government, that the regime:
1. Is pursuing a military nuclear program,
2. Supports terrorists across the globe,
3. Intervenes in the internal affairs of its neighbors, and other countries in the region
4. Undermines any activities for the peace movement in the region,
5. Infringes upon the freedom and human rights of its own people,
6. Disregards the right of the Iranian people to chart their own future through democratic means.
Instability is growing at a rapid pace inside Iran and the political situation is changing. This trend is aggravated by a worsening economic condition which has brought Iran to the verge of major change. The people of Iran, in their struggle for freedom, have stood against the widespread repression of the regime. There is the need for EU policy towards Iran to express solidarity with all those resisting repression and fighting for basic freedoms and democracy. Rather than setting out a delegation team to Iran, which would give the regime a new blood to revitalize; it would serve Europe a great extent to put their hope on Iranian people. The future of Iran will be decided by its people, especially the younger generation that wants to replace the theocratic regime with a secular democratic one at any price. The European Parliament should know that in the very near future it is going to deal with the people and not a minority of self-serving clerics and for that reason EP should exercise building bridge with the oppressed Iranian people and not the criminal regime of Iran.
Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Dr. Mansur Rastani is a freelance writer and a faculty member at NCSU, NCA&TSU and CSUM and worked as a researcher at NASA, the Jet Propulsion Lab and other governmental agencies. He grew up in Iran and can be reached through his website http://mansurrastani.wordpress.com.