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Utorok, 19. januára 2016 - Štrasburg Revidované vydanie

15. Situácia v Saudskej Arábii a v Iráne (rozprava)
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  PUHEMIES. – Esityslistalla on seuraavana komission varapuheenjohtajan / unionin ulkoasioiden ja turvallisuuspolitiikan korkean edustajan julkilausuma Saudi-Arabian ja Iranin tilanteesta (2015/2518(RSP)).


  Federica Mogherini, Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Madam President, before I get into the details of this topic, let me say a few words on what happened in Vienna on Saturday, where we showed that, exactly six months after having reached an agreement with Iran on their nuclear programme, Iran fulfilled the commitments we had agreed on. The IAEA verified this compliance and the international community, through the E3+3, the joint commission that I coordinate and that I, and my successor after me, will continue to coordinate for the whole duration of the agreement, verified that this has been done and therefore that the deal has been implemented.

Let me reiterate that six months ago there were many people, in Europe, the region and the world, who were deeply sceptical as to whether we would ever manage to implement this agreement. They were betting on the possibility that Iran would not follow up the agreement with concrete deeds. Let me say that most of all it is a nuclear negotiation, a nuclear agreement, and this is the core of our satisfaction: the fact that we have prevented a major risk of nuclear proliferation and maybe even the possibility of a conflict in the region.

This is the first reason for satisfaction, but there is another element of satisfaction linked to the fact that we have shown that multilateralism and diplomacy can work. As we saw in the previous debate, not only can it work in terms of reaching an agreement, it can also deliver in terms of implementation.

So, in these difficult times there is good reason for hope. And let me also say, as I get to the real issue of our debate, though the two are closely connect, that there are two other elements for hope. One is the door that now opens for relations between Iran with the rest of the world – starting with the Europeans – and for us Europeans to engage in Iran in different ways and in different sectors. Finally, last but not least – and perhaps most importantly – this agreement could open the way to a different kind of relationship in the region.

Here we come to the issue of tonight because, after managing to hold negotiations for 13 years, with difficulties and ups and downs and a lot of scepticism, and achieving that historic result against all odds, we now have to invest in the possibility of a different kind of cooperation in the region.

We are not naïve; we know very well that this will not be easy, that this will not happen overnight and that we will face obstacles and setbacks. The willingness of Iran to further cooperate on regional matters will have to be tested. But the fact that they have stated this willingness is already a step forward in respect to the past. Their will to implement the agreement they signed in July will also be tested. But just think back one year ago. Many believed we would never manage to agree on a strong deal with Iran, a verifiable and implementable deal, and we proved them wrong. If we keep working hard and together – united as Europeans and with the rest of the international community – I am sure we can keep surprising the sceptics somehow.

Dialogue among all regional powers, starting with Saudi Arabia and Iran is – we are united in believing – the only way out of the current turmoil in the Middle East. In the past few years, a struggle for regional hegemony has mixed with revamped ethnic and confessional tensions. Terrorist groups such as Daesh are fostering sectarianism to throw the region into even greater chaos and bolster their own power. International disputes between Saudi Arabia and Iran can easily play into the narrative of a war of religion between Sunni and Shia Muslims, and we know this very well. The risks of this are huge. New frictions can block the difficult path towards peace in Syria, as we have just discussed, but also in Yemen. We did not discuss that this time, but I think we will tomorrow. These frictions can destabilise Iraq and Lebanon, the two countries in the region that are most exposed to sectarian tensions. They can destabilise entire Muslim communities worldwide, from Asia to Africa, in the Horn and in the Sahel.

Bilateral tensions can, in this way, potentially inflame the region even more, prevent political processes from either starting or yielding results, and potentially inflame the war. This is why we are trying to contain and de-escalate these tensions in close coordination among ourselves as Europeans, with all the Member States. We are ensuring that we, our international partners, including the United States and, to mention just one, the Foreign Minister of Indonesia – whom I had on the phone just before her trip to Tehran and Saudi Arabia a few days ago – send a similar message to try and facilitate the containment and the de-escalation of the conflict. This shows how important this issue is in at least three continents, if not four, because potentially this could inflame communities around the world.

As you may know, we reacted immediately on 2 January 2015 to the execution by the authorities of the Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, and 46 other individuals, most of whom had been convicted on terrorism charges in relation to their links to Al-Qaeda. As I expressed in the statement that I issued on the same day, the death penalty can in no way be sustainable or an efficient response to crime or terrorism. The EU opposes capital punishment under any circumstances, and we shall continue to consistently advocate for the universal abolition of the death penalty. This also refers to Iran, whose human rights record is worrying. This is the message that I conveyed, not only to the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, but also to the Foreign Minister of Iran, whom I contacted at that time.

The specific case of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr raises very serious concerns regarding issues such as freedom of expression and the respect of basic civil and political rights. These should be safeguarded in all cases. Also let me stress that, in the framework of the fight against terrorism, we have also taken an immediate position on the reactions in Iran because nothing can justify an attack on embassies or consulates, as happened with the Saudi Embassy in Tehran and the consulate in Mashhad.

In the conversations I had with both the Iranian and the Saudi foreign ministers in the wake of these events, I stressed the need for Iran to abide by its international obligations. This also means ensuring the protection of diplomatic premises in all circumstances. In my phone call with both sides and in the contacts we had afterwards (we met with Mr Zarif over the weekend, among other people) the main message I passed on was to try to manage the bilateral tensions without inflaming the risk of spill-overs, especially in the region, to preserve our efforts for peace in Syria and Yemen and to avoid further destabilisation in the area, especially with regard to Iraq and Lebanon. I was given reassurances by both sides on the need to find a way of preserving this process. As we have said, for the Syria process to begin and have some chance of succeeding, it must be supported by all the regional players.

For the same reason, to try to find common ways of protecting the process, early this year I discussed the situation, and the risks of it degenerating, with the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, ministers of many Arab and African countries, and with some Asian ministers. We are also coordinating messages and actions, not only with our partners, but first and foremost among Europeans. This was the case yesterday at the Foreign Affairs Council, where we discussed and agreed on common lines in this regard.

Finding a negotiated solution to the current conflicts in the Middle East is in everybody’s interest, especially everyone in the region. Protracted war can only benefit terrorists of all kinds, and it can only let instability spread further well beyond the borders of the Middle East; we in Europe know that very well.

This is not a zero-sum game, and this is the other strong message we are passing on to our Iranian and Saudi friends. If the wars in Syria and in Yemen and the tensions in the region do not stop, everybody will lose. There is not a single place in the region that can benefit from the escalation of tensions. The only alternative to a win-win solution, where everybody sees their interests recognised, is chaos and further chaos.

It took us months to gather all regional powers around the same table to discuss peace in Syria. As we said, the same goes for Libya, a country from which we had encouraging news today since we managed to unite the region’s international actors in a process along similar lines to that which we put together for Syria. We cannot afford to waste any of these positive trends and we cannot afford to expose them to tensions that need to stay contained – if possible at a bilateral level.

The European Union will keep doing all that we can to promote dialogue, and fight sectarianism. This is because we have learned our own EU lesson. I said this in the previous debate, about Colombia. This is the EU lesson. It is only regional cooperation that brings peace and prosperity, and we have experienced this for 60 years now. Only through this kind of regional understanding, cooperation and partnership did we manage to overcome centuries of war and conflict and experience peace in our region.

This is our way. We believe it is regional cooperation – and never confrontation or competition – that is beneficial for all. This is particularly true for an area of the world like the Middle East.


  Cristian Dan Preda, au nom du groupe PPE. Madame la Présidente, Madame la Haute représentante, chers collègues, comme nous le savons, les tensions entre l'Arabie saoudite et l'Iran ont atteint un nouveau point culminant. L'Arabie saoudite et certains de ses alliés arabes sunnites ont rompu leurs relations diplomatiques avec Téhéran en début d'année, tout cela après que des protestataires, rendus furieux par l'exécution par Riyad d'un important leadeur chiite le 2 janvier, ont attaqué l'ambassade saoudienne à Téhéran.

L'exécution de 47 personnes, dont le cheik al-Nimr, par décapitation et fusillade, est la plus grande exécution effectuée par l'Arabie saoudite depuis 1980. Il n'est pas nécessaire de rappeler le fait que nous rejetons la peine de mort de manière catégorique et, comme la haute représentante l'a dit, il faut tenir cet engagement. Il ne faut pas oublier non plus que le bilan de l'Iran, pour ce qui est de la peine capitale, n'est pas du tout glorieux. L'année dernière, alors même que des avancées avaient été réalisées sur le nucléaire, l'Iran a enregistré 1 084 exécutions. C'est pour cela que je suis content que nous ayons pu ajouter l'Iran au débat d'aujourd'hui, parce que la proposition initiale venant de nos amis de gauche – communistes, socialistes, libéraux et Verts – était de discuter uniquement de l'Arabie saoudite et de critiquer ce qui s'y passe.

Je crois que nous sommes maintenant devant une nouvelle phase de la confrontation entre les chiites et les sunnites. Je sais que nous avons du mal à accepter la force politique de ce clivage religieux. Je crois que c'est une erreur et qu'il faut prendre très au sérieux ce que la haute représentante a également dit, c'est-à-dire notre tentative d'aplanir ce conflit, car c'est un conflit qui aura des conséquences dramatiques pour nous dans les années à venir.


  Richard Howitt, on behalf of the S&D Group. Mr President, tonight we should welcome the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and, as rapporteur, the High Representative will have this Parliament’s further support to pursue a new path of cooperation with Iran. But that now includes efforts to de—escalate tensions, recognising the fact that Europe has common interests with both Riyadh and Tehran in energy security, conflict resolution and the fight against terrorism, but also common differences on the death penalty, democratic standards, justice on religious minorities and restrictions against women. Both countries should refrain from allowing external financing, which can destabilise other countries and, directly or indirectly, support extremist groups.

I would like to ask Mrs Mogherini again which human rights safeguards have been applied to the EU’s counter—terrorism agreement with the Gulf States, given that some of the people the Saudis executed have been identified by human rights groups not as terrorists, but as political dissidents. I also ask her to respond to the legal opinion which suggested that targeting of civilians in Yemen means that continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia are in breach of the EU’s Code of Conduct. I hope and believe we have succeeded in halting a nuclear arms race in this region, and urgent action is now needed to stop one in conventional arms too.

In many countries, Shia and Sunni Moslems cohabit peacefully. In Europe, we should be respectful about religious differences within Islam, which have existed for centuries, but should also be determined to seek political cooperation, which is needed for the future. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia can have a role to play in the region that does not have to be at the cost of the other. Each could be part of a new collective security structure in the Middle East, and each could be a partner of the European Union. Whilst others are severing diplomatic ties, we should be intensifying them.


  Bas Belder, namens de ECR-Fractie. Laten wij nuchter zijn. Noch het wahhabitische koninkrijk Saudi-Arabië, noch de sji'itische Islamitische Republiek Iran dragen momenteel bij aan de humanitaire urgentie van een stabiel Midden-Oosten. Zowel Riyad als Teheran bestrijden de Islamitische Staat, echter wel met uiteenlopende doelstellingen.

En die Islamitische Staat heeft ook Europa, ons continent, in het vizier. Dat brengt mij bij de visie van een Duitse kenner van de Saudische politiek. Omdat de jihadisten internationaal over steeds betere netwerken beschikken, moet het Westen wel verder samenwerken met Saudi-Arabië, indien het al-Qaida en de Islamitische Staat effectief wil bestrijden. Dat moet u ook weten. De inlichtingendiensten van diverse lidstaten van de Europese Unie zijn wel bekend met Riyad.

Hoge Vertegenwoordiger, in hoeverre bedreigt de Europese toenadering tot Iran - je zou bijna spreken van een soort omhelzing als ik u hoor - een gezamenlijke bestrijding van het jihadisme met Saudi-Arabië, want dat staat op gespannen voet.


  Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, en nombre del Grupo ALDE. Señora Presidenta, señora Mogherini, lo que une a Arabia Saudí y a Irán es más que lo que los separa. Periodistas y blogueros detenidos por actividades pacíficas, impunidad en violencia de género y discriminación, tortura institucionalizada, campeones en ejecuciones per cápita: casi igualados en lo que va de año, con medio centenar cada uno. Así es como las Naciones Unidas y las principales ONG describen a Irán y a Arabia Saudí.

Además de estas estremecedoras similitudes, hay otra muy significativa: el poder del petróleo. La dependencia energética de Arabia Saudí y oscuros negocios como la venta de armas han lastrado nuestra defensa de los derechos humanos. Ya caímos en esa trampa y ahora podemos cometer el mismo error con Irán. Que Irán abandone su programa nuclear es una buena noticia para la seguridad y la paz internacional, pero no puede ser una excusa para rebajar nuestras exigencias en materia de derechos humanos. Recuperar nuestro liderazgo comercial, sí, pero sin renunciar a nuestra influencia para que el Gobierno iraní cumpla sus acuerdos internacionales. No olvidemos la elección de Arabia Saudí: dependencia energética igual a falta de compromiso con los derechos humanos.

El éxito en las relaciones de la Unión Europea con Irán no solo habremos de medirlo en función del número de contratos que logren nuestras empresas sino, sobre todo, en cómo hemos mejorado la vida de los iraníes, que sufren la violación sistemática de sus derechos humanos por parte de su Gobierno, en especial la que afecta a más de la mitad de su población, las mujeres. Oprimidas, discriminadas, vejadas, anuladas. Es necesario insistir e insistir hasta alcanzar resultados concretos, como que el relator especial de las Naciones Unidas pueda entrar en Irán y realizar su trabajo.


  Miguel Urbán Crespo, en nombre del Grupo GUE/NGL. Señora Presidenta, señora Mogherini, el mayor exportador de petróleo del mundo ha ejecutado al menos a 2 200 personas en las últimas décadas. A la mayoría de ellas se les negó una asistencia adecuada durante el juicio y se les obligó a firmar documentos —incluidas confesiones— que no comprendían. El número de ajusticiados se ha disparado de forma drástica desde la llegada al trono del Rey Salmán el pasado enero. Y ahora parece que tenemos un problema.

El problema es que durante demasiado tiempo ustedes han tenido a Arabia Saudí como socio preferente en la región gracias a los jugosos contratos de infraestructuras y armamento de las empresas españolas, francesas, británicas o alemanas, que han pagado con clamorosos silencios oficiales la violación sistemática de los derechos humanos, como una estrategia de compra de voluntades que incluye a Gobiernos y medios de comunicación europeos, como demostraron las filtraciones de Wikileaks. O, por ejemplo, la entrada de Arabia Saudí en el Comité de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas gracias al apoyo del Gobierno de Gran Bretaña.

Señora Mogherini, con estas ejecuciones, el inestimable socio de las multinacionales europeas no pretende más que atizar el fuego sectario en la región. Está haciendo política internacional con estas muertes. Ustedes tienen que tomar una decisión: seguir dando premios Sájarov a activistas saudíes mientras miran para otro lado para hacer negocio, o bien dar pasos definidos por la democracia y el respeto de los derechos humanos, aunque les cueste algunos contratos en Irán y en Arabia Saudí.


  Alyn Smith, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. Madam President, I would like to thank Ms Mogherini and welcome her to Parliament again. In the time available, I would mention Iran only insofar as to welcome progress and say I am very much looking forward to welcoming Iran back in from the cold. We, the EU, have a huge incentive and a huge potential to engage with the forces of progress within the Republic. Ms Mogherini, many congratulations thus far and continue with your efforts.

It is all the more concerning that, as we see progress with Tehran, we see the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia actually deteriorating: we see increasing repression at home, we see a real budget crisis which is driving much of the domestic politics of the Kingdom and we see disastrous military interventions in its near abroad, especially in regard to Yemen. EU engagement with the Kingdom of course is very different state by state, but my own state, the UK, has since 2010 sold GBP 5.6 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia. These are being used in Yemen with disastrous consequences. This is been harshly criticised by Edward Santiago, the head of Save the Children’s Yemen office. He said that the UK gives the impression that diplomatic relations and arms sales trump the lives of Yemen’s children: harsh criticism there.

Turning back to the EU, we do have a community of values enshrined in laws and international agreements. It is a very concrete question, Ms Mogherini, and I will write to you tomorrow. I think there is a considerable degree of dubiety over the legality under our laws, under our international agreements, of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, especially as they are being used in Yemen. What assessment have your services made of that legality? If there has been no assessment, do you not think that perhaps there should be?


  Fabio Massimo Castaldo, a nome del gruppo EFDD. Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, tutti gli interlocutori sono uguali, ma alcuni interlocutori sono più uguali degli altri, specie se hanno le maggiori riserve di petrolio al mondo e tanti miliardi di dollari da investire. Questa parafrasi di Orwell descrive bene la tolleranza dell'intero Occidente davanti a violazioni di diritti umani e dei diritti e delle libertà civili e politiche, davanti alla predicazione estremista e al ruolo in sanguinarie guerre per procura che infiammano il Medio Oriente. Tutto quasi sotto silenzio.

E adesso queste 47 condanne a morte, che hanno portato a un'escalation senza precedenti, come interpretarle? Un tentativo di mostrare i muscoli per rinsaldare il sostegno intorno a casa Saud? Volontà di alzare il prezzo del petrolio in crollo totale per via del ritorno del commercio della produzione iraniana? O ancora obbligare gli alleati a schierarsi, influenzando anche la campagna elettorale americana e spingendo i vari candidati a sconfessare l'apertura obamiana sugli accordi sul nucleare?

Sono domande ancora senza risposta, ma l'unica certezza è che è sempre più imprescindibile per noi pretendere dai nostri alleati intransigenza totale nella lotta contro il terrorismo, contro i finanziatori del terrorismo e i suoi predicatori; coerenza con i nostri principi e valori, in particolare contro la pena di morte; e pretendere anche che gli Stati membri interrompano il flusso di armamenti di cui l'Arabia è stata primo importatore al mondo nel 2014, altrimenti il sangue delle vittime in Yemen e altrove ricadrà anche sulle stelle della nostra bandiera.


  Josef Weidenholzer (S&D). Frau Präsidentin! Der Konflikt zwischen Saudi-Arabien und Iran läuft Gefahr, in eine heiße Phase zu kommen. Schon jetzt gibt es Stellvertreterkriege in Syrien und im Jemen. Eine bewaffnete Auseinandersetzung würde die ganze Region an den Abgrund treiben. Das hätte unvorstellbare Auswirkungen auch für Europa. Deshalb kann niemand daran interessiert sein, dass sich das so entwickelt. Ich begrüße es, dass der Iran nach Abschluss der Nuklearverhandlungen endlich wieder Teil der internationalen Gemeinschaft geworden ist. Es ist wichtig, dass in einer so fragilen Region Staaten agieren und nicht stateless actors und keine gescheiterten Staaten. Niemand kann an einer Destabilisierung interessiert sein.

Zwei Punkte kurz: Alle Aktivitäten, die darauf gerichtet sind, durch die Unterstützung von Akteuren wie Da‘esh die Region aus dem Gleichgewicht zu bringen, sind gefährlich, und wir dürfen nicht den Mantel des Schweigens darüber ausbreiten.

Zweitens: Stabilität erreicht man nicht durch Repression, Stabilität erreicht man langfristig durch Demokratie und Rechtsstaatlichkeit. Die Wahl im Iran wird zeigen, ob das Land auf dem richtigen Weg ist. Saudi-Arabien ist leider noch weit von diesen Entwicklungen entfernt. Auch die letzten Ereignisse haben uns das eindeutig bewiesen. Wir können nicht entscheiden, wohin sich Saudi-Arabien entwickelt, aber wir haben es in der Hand, indem wir unsere Waffenlieferungen an Saudi-Arabien endlich beschränken.


  Klaus Buchner (Verts/ALE). Frau Präsidentin! Ziel unserer Politik muss es doch sein, Frieden und Menschenrechte im Nahen Osten zu verwirklichen. Die Vorgänge in dieser Region sind gerade für uns in Europa von zentraler Bedeutung, weil ja aus Syrien und aus dieser Gegend die meisten Flüchtlinge zu uns kommen. Fakt ist aber, dass im Gegenteil die Menschenrechte sowohl in Saudi-Arabien als auch im Iran mit Füßen getreten werden und dass beide Länder in Kriege verwickelt sind, nicht nur im Jemen, sondern auch Saudi-Arabien indirekt durch Finanzen in Syrien und im Irak.

Das heißt, wir haben aber jetzt als EU eine Chance, weil sich Saudi-Arabien etwas von den USA weg bewegt zu Europa hin. Wir haben eine ähnlich günstige Situation im Iran. Das heißt, jetzt können wir unsere Forderungen leichter durchbringen, und das ist logischerweise Frieden Das heißt erstens Stopp des Engagements in diesen Kriegen, zweitens Menschenrechte und drittens für uns selbst Stopp der Waffenexporte in diese Länder.


  Victor Boştinaru (S&D). Doamnă președinte, recenta escaladare a tensiunilor dintre Iran și Arabia Saudită reprezintă o evoluție profund îngrijorătoare care planează asupra unei regiuni și așa marcată de grave crize și riscă să exacerbeze confruntarea dintre sunniți și șiiți, la nivel regional și global.

Singura posibilitate pentru a ieși din criză este ca UE să-și aducă propria contribuție la punerea la masa negocierilor a celor două părți. Trebuie să prevenim ca procesul de la Viena privind Siria să fie compromis, iar Irakul să devină din nou teatru de confruntare între șiiți și sunniți. Acordul nuclear cu Iranul a confirmat dividendele păcii, ale negocierilor, iar Uniunea Europeană este îndreptățită să joace pragmatic în relațiile cu cele două părți pentru a preveni escaladarea pe mai departe.


  Damiano Zoffoli (S&D). Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, l'accordo sul nucleare ha senza dubbio cambiato lo scenario in Medio Oriente. L'ostilità e la chiusura degli americani nei confronti dell'Iran e la loro alleanza con i sauditi sono stati per anni elementi fondanti della politica in Medio Oriente. Anche se una guerra aperta fra Iran e Arabia viene esclusa, è certo che in questa regione, oltre all'irrisolta questione israelo-palestinese, la rivalità fra Iran e Arabia e le divisioni fra sciiti e sunniti saranno sempre più determinanti.

L'Unione europea ha giocato un ruolo fondamentale nei negoziati sul nucleare iraniano con l'Alto rappresentante Federica Mogherini, che ancora una volta ringraziamo. Questo accordo, che rappresenta ad oggi uno dei pochi segni di speranza, deve essere solo il primo passo per un dialogo più largo con l'Iran, che include temi regionali come i rapporti con la Siria, lo Yemen, il Libano, l'Iraq, l'Afghanistan e che l'ultima azione saudita mira a mettere in discussione. L'Europa, impegnata in un'azione di stabilizzazione della regione per prevenire il terrorismo e il dramma dell'immigrazione, frutto delle guerre, deve evitare che le provocazioni da qualunque parte provengano mettano in crisi la faticosa ricerca della pace in Siria. Dobbiamo ribadire la nostra forte opposizione all'uso della pena di morte in ogni circostanza. Tutto ciò richiede comunque più Unione europea, più Unione e più Europa.


  Ana Gomes (S&D). Senhora Presidente, a execução do Xeque Al-Nimr e 46 outras pessoas constituiu uma provocação irresponsável, que só podia fazer escalar a tensão regional e global, visando obstruir as conversações de Viena sobre a Síria. Falhando em proteger Embaixada e Consulado sauditas, as autoridades iranianas, por seu lado, caíram na armadilha dos setores mais sectários e belicistas de Riade.

A União Europeia deve investir no diálogo com Teerão, sobretudo agora que o acordo sobre o programa nuclear está a ser cumprido e as sanções foram levantadas, e por isso a quero felicitar vivamente pela sua liderança, Senhora Mogherini, neste processo. Na União Europeia podemos e devemos fazer críticas a Teerão, quando são necessárias, designadamente sobre direitos humanos, mas não devemos deixar de trabalhar com o Irão – onde há, apesar de tudo, um estado funcional – para acabar com a guerra na Síria e para combater o Daexe e outras organizações terroristas que de lá irradiam, com patrocinadores sauditas, catarianos, de outros países do Golfo e da Turquia, o que não é mais possível ser ignorado pelos governos europeus, que disso têm de tirar consequências para o relacionamento com estes países.


  Alessia Maria Mosca (S&D). Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, ringrazio l'Alto rappresentante per aver riferito in quest'Aula sull'attuale situazione delle relazioni tra Arabia Saudita e Iran. Ci preoccupa in modo particolare, anche alla luce del dibattito che si è appena concluso, il possibile rinvio della Conferenza di pace sulla Siria, soprattutto alla luce della consapevolezza che la speranza per la pace risiede nel dialogo fra tutti gli attori coinvolti, dialogo che ovviamente non può prescindere dalla cooperazione tra le due potenze regionali profondamente coinvolte negli eventi siriani.

In secondo luogo, non si deve in alcun modo correre il rischio che l'inasprirsi delle tensioni diplomatiche tra i due Stati possa offuscare il grande risultato ottenuto con l'accordo sul nucleare iraniano. Infine, ci fa piacere che abbia sottolineato la questione dei diritti umani e dello sforzo costante per l'abolizione della pena di morte, perché non sono questioni secondarie né di parte, ma devono coerentemente rientrare nella nostra azione verso tutti i partner, in qualsiasi circostanza in cui essi siano messi a rischio.


  Andrejs Mamikins (S&D). Madam President, the recent developments in Saudi-Iranian relations have a great potential to further destabilise the Middle East. The execution of the Shia cleric al-Nimr was an irresponsible act by the Saudi Government, further exacerbating sectarianism. Iran, on the other hand, has failed in its duty to protect the Saudi embassy from a mob attack. The decision of Saudi Arabia to cut off diplomatic and indeed any kind of relations with Iran, however, is disproportionate.

A different path, nevertheless, is possible. The implementation of the nuclear agreement with Iran and the lifting of sanctions against Iran pave the way for a constructive engagement with Iran in the regional crisis. Syria is a place to start. Saudi-Iranian tensions should not be allowed to derail the fragile progress on peace talks on Syria. There is now a roadmap and timetable for such talks as decided by the UN Security Council resolution.

I call on both sides to show responsibility and restraint in this conflict. But I would like to stress that for a peaceful future in the region it is essential that Saudi Arabia does a lot more to stop the funding of terrorist groups originating in the country and the spread of extremist Wahhabi ideology which inspires such terrorist acts as the attacks in Paris and Beirut or the bombing of the Russian civilian airliner over Egypt.


Catch-the-eye procedure


  Stanislav Polčák (PPE). Paní předsedající, já bych chtěl ocenit kroky, které uskutečnila paní představitelka Mogheriniová. Myslím si, že její kroky jsou poměrně promyšlené a i konsistentní. Chtěl bych se zeptat s ohledem na to, jaké rozhodnutí bylo učiněno právě tuto sobotu, zdali to znamená pro íránskou opozici, která je reprezentována například NCRI, paní Radžávíovou a ostatními platformami, že je Evropská unie opustí.

Já pevně věřím, že tomu tak nebude, že budeme sledovat další vývoj v Íránu i u těchto skupin, které představují nemalou část společnosti. Pevně věřím, že to, co paní Mogheriniová zmiňovala, to znamená zmírňování napětí, že skutečně bude trvalým přínosem Evropské unie i právě v těchto neklidných dobách a v neklidných částech světadílu.


  Afzal Khan (S&D). Madam President, the recent events in Saudi Arabia and Iran have further destabilised an already fragile Middle East. I am worried that by taking sides in this conflict the EU will worsen the situation. I am particularly concerned that further inflaming Sunni-Shia sectarianism will have an adverse effect on resolving conflict in Syria and Yemen, and may well open conflicts in other parts of the world. However, there is still hope to do the right thing for the Middle East. I welcome the lifting of sanctions and it will lead to the substantial foreign investment whose benefits will improve the lives of Iranian citizens.

Let us continue supporting meaningful reforms in Saudi Arabia. I was impressed meeting the first woman elected to a municipal council. They and the youth of Saudi Arabia are the future and we in the EU must support them. Both sides need to respect the principle of non-interference in other sovereign states. A stable and prosperous Middle East requires that neither Iran nor Saudi Arabia feel left behind.


  Jonathan Arnott (EFDD). Madam President, within Islam there is a difference between Sunni and Shia, a difference within Sunni between the Sufis and Wahhabism, and so on. And not even all Wahhabis support the brutal punishments in Saudi Arabia, but the export of such ideology, without a political counterbalance like the Saudi monarchy, leads inexorably to ISIS doctrine and the situation in Syria.

ISIS hates everything we hold dear. We must fight those who would kill me for being a Christian or throw others off buildings for being gay with every fibre of our being. But the British Labour leader has the audacity to speak of ISIS’s strong points. Even a British Labour MEP today failed to defend that point when I gave him the opportunity earlier. Many here believe in the European Union flag. I believe in the Union Jack flag; Corbyn believes in the white flag. He is not fit to lead Labour.


(End of catch-the-eye procedure)


  Federica Mogherini, Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. –Madam President, let me start by saying that indeed there is, and has always been a Sunni-Shia divide. We are also facing a Sunni-Sunni divide, which we have to be aware of, and that is definitely complicating the picture in the region and far beyond.

Let me also share with you something that many of our friends and partners in the region, in the Muslim world, share with us: that there is not so much a religious confrontation, but a political confrontation that uses religious or sectarian divides to its own purposes and that Sunni and Shia live together in many places in the world, including Europe, and had done so for centuries before this politicisation of the sectarian divide came to the stage.

I believe that our role here can be to help and facilitate a wise investment in what some of you defined as a collective security architecture in the region – that could really be the way forward to guarantee peace and security to a region that is crucial to the world, and that it is exactly this lack of vision, of a common security architecture, that is probably amplifying these tensions in a very dangerous way. How can we help in this respect? That is also something that there is a valid interest to facilitate.

First of all, some of you said ‘not taking sides’: we have working relations and open channels that in some cases work, both with Iran and with Saudi Arabia and, for sure, the implementation of the deal we have with Iran on its nuclear programme opens up further possibilities for our bilateral relations with Iran to develop. We have relations with Iran and with Saudi Arabia that we can use with a clear agenda that we have to make clear to our partners and to the other actors in the region. That includes different aspects, including the bilateral confrontations that are taking place now, including the regional dynamics, including the need to invest in political solutions to the many crises we have in the region, including the need to strengthen the resilience of key countries that are particularly exposed to this political use of sectarian divides as in the case of Iraq, Lebanon and others, including internal developments of the countries, and including human rights, which are always on the agenda whenever we discuss with both our Saudi Arabian and our Iranian partners. Let me say to those of you that mentioned the issue of oil that you probably have to update your reflections on this, because I believe the oil prices that the world is facing today have put us in a completely different situation, including in our relations with the Gulf. So, indeed, we have a political agenda. We have clear political agenda, no taboos, everything is on the table. And somehow we are in a privileged situation when it comes to talking with our partners in the region, because our agenda is clear, transparent and coherent. Yes, indeed, there are some different economic or trade agendas, some belonging to our Member States, but as the European Union we do not have anything like that so we have a greater margin for manoeuvre in political discourse with them.

I believe we definitely have to continue to invest in our relations with Iran and Saudi Arabia, first of all with the people of these two countries, in all different forms we can put in place. We must also continue our work on two central lines of external action: our foreign policy is the first – full respect of international law – and the second, at the top of our agenda not only with Saudi Arabia and Iran but also with many other countries in the world, is our work for the abolishment of the death penalty in the world. That is based on our principles, on our practice and also on our experience that tells us that it is not effective: it is not only something we believe is inhuman, but it is also not effective in preventing or fighting crime, including fighting terrorism.

So let me thank you for the support you have given to our alliance of action in this respect. I think this will be helpful for the way forward and let me thank you again for the contribution to our work in this region that is so crucial and so close, not only to our hearts, but also to our direct interests when it comes to security and stability.


  PUHEMIES. – Keskustelu on päättynyt.

Kirjalliset lausumat (tyojarjestyksen 162 artikla)


  Tunne Kelam (PPE), in writing. The debate on Saudi Arabia and Iran is a debate on future stability in the Middle East region, and stability in the world.

Both countries are known for supporting radical and terrorist movements in their wider neighbourhood, contributing to destabilisation and inciting new conflicts. Still, it is hypocritical to complain about executions in Saudi Arabia when under Rouhani Iran has executed more than 2 000 individuals, making Iran the No 1 in the world in executions per capita.

The current conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran is part of a wider intra-Islamic conflict for the hegemony in Middle East. The best and most reliable way to avoid these two concentrating on their rivalry will be their practical compliance with their obligations to respect human rights of their citizens. It is highly indicative that the nuclear deal with Iran has not taken into account Tehran’s disastrous human rights record.

As the West is building its hopes on ‘moderate’ Rouhani, one is overlooking the fact that the person really pulling the strings is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He is set on gaining time and restoring economic relations with the West, while continuing even more intensively the export of terrorism in Middle East and suppressing human rights at home.


  Ilhan Kyuchyuk (ALDE), in writing. Undoubtedly, the past few months have been crucial for Iran and Saudi Arabia. On the one hand, the nuclear deal allows Iran to return to the international scene. On the other, it is obvious that after the death of King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia has taken a different path and the increasing numbers of death penalties prove that fact. The execution of the prominent Shia cleric has completely shaken both the Muslim world and the fragile political situation in the Middle East. This has resulted in the rupture of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia – two powerhouses, major rivals of the Muslim world and important players in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. This further instability in the region comes at a particularly sensitive moment – the growing influence of Daesh and the worst refugee crisis of our time. Therefore, the EU should play an active role in diplomatic efforts to de-escalate tensions between the two countries. The peace process in the Middle East fully depends on good relations between both powers, and any deepening of the conflict could have incorrigible consequences.

Právne upozornenie - Politika ochrany súkromia