The EU should exploit the current window of opportunity of nuclear talks and internal developments in Iran, which favour both domestic reform and better EU-Iran relations, says Parliament in a resolution passed on Thursday. It also calls on the EU to be more active in addressing the human rights situation and in supporting civil society in Iran.
MEPs say that once a comprehensive agreement is reached that guarantees that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful, the EU should gradually drop its nuclear-related sanctions.
If substantial progress is made in talks on the nuclear file, the Council should start devising a concept for bilateral EU-Iran relations, including a possible formal EU-Iran agreement, says the resolution. The EU and Iran could focus cooperation on areas including the development of civil society and the private sector in Iran, the fight against narcotics and the environment, education and health.
Parliament also calls for the first steps to be taken towards opening an EU delegation in Tehran by the end of this year. This would be an efficient means of influencing Iranian policies and the dialogue on human and minority rights, it believes. MEPs add that EU policy towards Iran should be more independent.
Human rights: grave concerns remain
MEPs have major concerns about the persistent systematic violation of fundamental rights, the high number of executions and the restrictions on freedom in Iran. The country should release all jailed human rights defenders, political prisoners, trade unionists and those detained after the 2009 presidential elections, the resolution says. Iran’s Charter of Citizens' Rights must also comply with its international obligations, namely when it comes to non-discrimination, banning torture and ensuring individual and collective freedoms.
The EU should engage in an inclusive high-level human rights dialogue with Iran that would include the judiciary and security forces and the EU institutions must do more to empower and develop civil society within Iran, MEPs say.
Syria and Afghanistan: Iranian commitment needed
The resolution stresses that Iran should be involved in all discussions seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria and in the region, provided it shows commitment to achieving this. It should use its influence in Syria to stop the bloodshed and cooperate with the EU and the US in Afghanistan, namely on drug trafficking and protection of refugees, MEPs add.