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Wednesday, 10 February 2010 - Strasbourg
Situation in Iran

European Parliament resolution of 10 February 2010 on Iran

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Iran,

–   having regard to the statement by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, of 5 February 2010 on the imminent executions in Iran,

–   having regard to the joint statement by the EU and the USA of 8 February 2010 calling on the Iranian Government to fulfil its human rights obligations,

–   having regard to the statement by its President of 9 October 2009 reiterating Parliament's commitment to the worldwide abolition of the death penalty and specifically denouncing capital punishment for juvenile crimes,

–   having regard to the Council statement on Iran of 10/11 December 2009, 

–   having regard to the statement by the High Representative of 12 January 2010 on the trial of seven Baha'i leaders in Iran,

–   having regard to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions 1737(2006), 1747(2007), 1803(2008) and 1835(2008),

–   having regard to the Resolution adopted by the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 27 November 2009 on the implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and the relevant provisions of the abovementioned UNSC Resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran,

–   having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to all of which Iran is a party,

–   having regard to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence statement of 5 January 2010 declaring all contacts between Iranian citizens and 60 non-governmental organisations, plus numerous international media outlets which broadcast in Farsi, to be 'illegal',

–   having regard to the 'postponement' by the Iranian authorities of the visit by its Delegation for Relations with Iran to Tehran scheduled for 8-11 January 2010,

–   having regard to Rule 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

On democracy and human rights

A.   whereas the political situation in Iran is continuing to deteriorate, with no indication from the Iranian Government that it intends to address internal and worldwide concerns about the legitimacy of the election held in June 2009; whereas the indications of massive fraud have given rise to a large-scale protest movement (the so-called 'Green movement'), with mass demonstrations continuing over recent months,

B.   whereas political developments in Iran following the disputed presidential election of June 2009 have shown that there is great potential for popular-led, democratic change in the country spearheaded by its vibrant and active civil society,

C.   whereas Iran's security forces – Revolutionary Guard, Basij militia and police – have responded with a severe crackdown, arbitrarily arresting thousands of peaceful protesters and dissidents, including students and academics, women's rights activists, trade unionists, lawyers, journalists, bloggers, clerics and prominent human rights defenders, in a clear effort to intimidate critics and stifle dissent,

D.   whereas many of those arrested have reported being beaten or tortured, and in some cases sexually assaulted, in prisons and secret detention facilities; whereas an inquiry conducted by the Majlis of the Islamic Republic of Iran in early 2010 determined that Deputy Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi was directly responsible for the deaths of at least three detainees from torture and neglect in Kahrizak prison, which the judiciary had ordered to be shut down three years previously,

E.   whereas government officials have confirmed that since June 2009 at least 30 protesters have died during demonstrations or in detention and that at least seven more died in clashes on 27 December 2009, the holy day of Ashura; whereas the actual number of deaths caused by government-sponsored violence is believed to be much higher,

F.   whereas, in addition, the security forces have stepped up their systematic harassment of members of religious minorities, such as Baha'is (all seven members of whose former leadership have been arrested and are now standing trial) Sunnis and Christians (including eight priests), and have carried out a campaign of arbitrary arrests and executions against Kurdish, Azeri, Baluch, and Arab civil society and political activists; whereas, in particular, 21 Kurds are on death row at the moment,

G.   whereas on 9 September 2008 the Iranian Parliament approved an 'Apostasy Law' which makes converting from Islam punishable by death,

H.   whereas since August 2009 the judiciary has been staging show trials of hundreds of prominent reformers and activists allegedly connected with 'rioters' attempting to promote a 'velvet revolution'; whereas during these trials many of the dissidents gave televised confessions that appeared coerced,

I.   whereas the Iranian Government continues to accuse European countries of interference in Iranian political developments; whereas such accusations have led to the expulsion of two British diplomats, the arrest of several Iranian staff working at the British Embassy and the brief arrest of one Swedish and two German embassy staff members for their alleged role in the post-election protests,

J.   whereas on 28 January 2010 Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour were executed, the first death sentences to be carried out which have been linked by official sources to the protest movement, despite the fact that at least one if not both of them were already in prison at the time of the elections; whereas at least nine people have reportedly been condemned to death for alleged links to the 'Green movement',

K.   whereas on 27 December 2009, the final day of the Ashura rites, Ali Mousavi, the 35-year-old nephew of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the main opposition candidate in the June 2009 presidential election, was shot dead and deliberately run over by a car in what bears all the hallmarks of a targeted assassination intended to serve as a strong warning to his uncle,

L.   whereas on 8 January 2010 an assassination attempt was made on Mehdi Karroubi, the second most prominent opposition candidate in the presidential election, with two bullets being fired at his car – which was bullet-proofed – while Basij militia and Revolutionary Guard members assembled to protest against Mr Karroubi's presence in Qazvin,

M.   whereas restrictions on freedom of the press and of expression continue to grow, and whereas the Iranian authorities have engaged in large-scale and frequent jamming of international radio and TV networks, many international websites, including Facebook and Twitter, and local opposition sites and mobile-phone services in Tehran, thereby also causing transmission problems for networks in other Middle Eastern countries and even in Europe,

N.   whereas European and Russian companies have been providing Iran with the necessary filtering and jamming devices, some of which might even pose a health risk to those living in the vicinity of the installations,

O.   whereas the Revolutionary Guard, its secret service and the Basij militia are playing an increasingly active role throughout Iranian society, cracking down on Iranian civilians and arresting human rights defenders, and appear to be taking the law into their own hands,

On the nuclear issue

P.   whereas Iran is a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), has, by ratifying the NPT, foresworn the acquisition of nuclear weapons and is legally bound to declare and all its nuclear activity, including nuclear material, and place it under IAEA safeguards,

Q.   whereas Article IV of the NPT notes the inalienable right of all Parties to that Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful civilian purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of that Treaty,

R.   whereas, in breach of its obligation under the NPT, Iran has clandestinely constructed an enrichment facility at Qom, and only notified the IAEA of its existence long after its construction had commenced; whereas this violation of the rules has given rise to speculation that there may be other secret nuclear sites and further undermines confidence in Iranian assurances about the purely civil character of its nuclear programme,

S.   whereas in the IAEA report of 16 November 2009 the outgoing IAEA Director-General, Dr ElBaradei, noted that unless Iran implements the Additional Protocol and clarifies the outstanding issues to the satisfaction of the IAEA the Agency will not be in a position to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and that there remain a number of outstanding issues which give rise to concerns about a possible military dimension to Iran's nuclear programme,

T.   whereas, in the interests of finding a diplomatic solution to the issue of Iran's nuclear programme, the EU, the United States, China and Russia had proposed that an agreement be reached, under the auspices of the IAEA, to ship Iran's existing low-enriched uranium to Russia and France for processing into fuel rods to keep the Tehran Medical Research reactor running, and noting that, since Iran rejected this proposal, debates have been ongoing in the Security Council on more stringent sanctions against Iran,

U.   whereas Iran is continuing to develop ballistic-missile technology and is pursuing the capability to deploy intercontinental ballistic missiles which could deliver nuclear weapons payloads,

V.   whereas the Iranian Government has made contradictory statements about its nuclear programme, and ordered further enrichment activities to begin on 7 February 2010,

On democracy and human rights

1.  Expresses serious doubts concerning the accuracy of the election results which led to the confirmation of President Ahmedinejad in office for a second term, despite strong indications of large-scale electoral fraud, and considers that the legitimacy of the Iranian President has been seriously undermined;

2.  Pays tribute to the courage of all those Iranian citizens who are demanding greater freedoms and more democratic rights and expressing their wish to live in a society free from repression and intimidation; pays special tribute to the Iranian women who played a crucial role in the post-election demonstrations in June 2009;

3.  Supports wholeheartedly the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people and deeply deplores the fact that the Iranian Government and Parliament are apparently incapable of responding to the justified demands of Iranian citizens, in particular the young generation, who have seen their hopes for economic and social development stifled for too long;

4.  Calls on the Iranian Government fully to respect the right of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, including in connection with the demonstrations announced for 11 February 2010; strongly condemns the use of violence by the Iranian authorities against demonstrators who are seeking to exercise freedom of expression and the right of peaceful assembly;

5.  Calls for the immediate release of all those detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly or on the grounds of their religious belief or sexual orientation, and calls on the authorities to investigate and prosecute government officials and members of the security forces responsible for the killing, abuse and torture of dissidents or their family members, demonstrators and detainees;

6.  Strongly condemns the death sentences imposed and executions carried out in Iran, in particular in the case of Mohammed Reza Alizamani and Arash Rahmanipour, and calls for the abolition of the death penalty; calls on the Iranian authorities to stop charging protesters who peacefully demonstrate for more democratic rights with 'Moharabeh' (waging war on God), an offence which carries the death penalty; calls on Iran immediately to implement the UN moratorium on the death penalty, as called for in UN General Assembly Resolutions 62/149 and 63/168;

7.  Is appalled at attempts by the government and/or the security forces to assassinate presidential candidates or members of their families, and calls on Supreme Leader Khamenei to guarantee the safety of prominent representatives of the Iranian opposition;

8.  Condemns the Iranian authorities' efforts to censor the print media and to jam radio, television and Internet services, such as the BBC, and calls on the EU and its Member States to address the international fallout from these methods in the International Telecommunications Union (ITU);

9.  Condemns the decision by the Iranian authorities to ban contacts with foreign non-governmental organisations, in particular those whose aim is the defence of civil liberties and rights, and calls on the Iranian authorities to lift this ban immediately;

10.  Calls on the Iranian authorities to put an immediate stop to the practice of televised show trials and on the Iranian Parliament to amend the Iranian law allowing the government to deny due-process rights, such as the right of defendants to adequate legal representation;

11.  Strongly criticises international companies, in particular Nokia Siemens, for providing the Iranian authorities with the necessary censorship and surveillance technology, thus being instrumental in the persecution and arrest of Iranian dissidents;

12.  Deplores the allegations of interference in internal Iranian affairs made against staff members of European embassies and, in this context, calls on the Iranian authorities to comply with the Vienna Convention and respect diplomatic norms;

13.Is concerned about the nature of demonstrations held in front of Member States' embassies in Tehran on 9 February 2010 as being orchestrated by the Basij militia, and calls on the Iranian authorities to guarantee the safety of diplomatic missions;
On the nuclear issue

14.  Notwithstanding Iran's right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the rules of the non-proliferation regime, reiterates that the proliferation risks in connection with the Iranian nuclear programme remain a source of serious concern to the European Union and to the international community, as expressed very clearly in UNSC Resolutions 1737, 1747, 1803 and 1835;

15.  Deplores the fact that no substantive progress has been made on key issues of serious concern, and repeats its calls to Iran to restore the transparency of its nuclear programme by providing full, clear and credible answers to the IAEA, to resolve all outstanding issues and concerns relating to this programme, including topics which could have a military dimension, to implement fully the provisions of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, including its subsidiary arrangements, and to ratify and implement the Additional Protocol;

16.  Supports the European Council's twin-track approach and all efforts to find a negotiated long-term solution to the Iranian nuclear issue; insists that any further sanctions in the context of the nuclear threat should exclude measures that would have negative consequences for the Iranian people as a whole;

17.  Deplores the fact that the Iranian Government has again rejected all attempts to achieve a compromise on the nuclear issue and that the Iranian regime is apparently seeking to use this issue both as a means of distracting attention from the crisis in the country and as a tactic to win time and avoid discussion in the UNSC of further sanctions, and regards the latest pronouncements by the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as being part of these tactics;

On EU-Iran relations

18.  Underlines the importance of the continuation of dialogue with Iran at all levels, in particular with civil society; deplores the fact that the Iranian side cancelled the scheduled visit by the European Parliament delegation and expresses the hope that the Iranian Government and Parliament will review their position on direct contacts;

19.  Calls on the Council to remain ready to engage with Iran in order to reach a negotiated solution to the nuclear issue, as well as regional security issues, taking account of what should be Iran's legitimate security interests and concerns, including the long-term prospect of a nuclear weapons-free Middle East;

20.  Considers that a serious debate should be launched at EU level on the possibility of introducing further targeted sanctions which do not harm the Iranian people as a whole; calls for the existing list of individuals and organisations subject to the EU travel ban and freezing of assets to be extended to include those that are responsible for the repression and curtailment of freedom in the country and those responsible for the breach of Iran's international commitments on the nuclear issue;

21.  Welcomes recent statements by the High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission and other EU leaders to the effect that the next step is to take the discussion to the UNSC, and calls on the French UNSC Presidency to put the Iranian nuclear issue on the UNSC agenda in February 2010; calls on the Chinese authorities to support the international community's efforts to curtail Iran's uranium enrichment programme;

22.  Reminds the Iranian authorities that in order to develop fruitful relations with the EU Iran must guarantee fundamental human rights and respect for the principles of democracy, freedom of expression and the rule of law, as this is a prerequisite for all countries which maintain political and economic relations with the EU; emphasises that the possible conclusion of a cooperation and trade agreement between Iran and the EU is contingent on respect for these values, Iran's full compliance with UNSC and IAEA resolutions and the provision of objective guarantees regarding the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme and the cessation of Iran's support for terrorist activities;

23.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission actively to support initiatives aimed at improving media pluralism and welcomes the progress made with the project which has already been launched to broadcast European news in Farsi;

24.  Calls on the Commission and Council to take immediate steps to ban the export of surveillance technology by European companies to countries, such as Iran, whose governments could use it to violate freedom of expression;

25.  Calls on the Commission to establish a European Union delegation in Tehran;

26.  Calls on the Commission and Council to devise additional measures in the context of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights and European immigration policy in order actively to protect Iranian human rights defenders;

o   o

27.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the High Representative, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the UN Secretary-General, the UN Human Rights Council and the Government and Parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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