International guest speakers included Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance; Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and former chairman of the US National Committee of the Democratic party; Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former European Parliament vice-president (1999-2014) and President of the International Committee ‘In Search of Justice’; Struan Stevenson, former president of European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-2014); and former MEPs Paulo Casaca and Stephen Hughes.
Euro MPs speaking at the event included José Bové (France), Mairead McGuinness (Ireland), Eduard Kukan (Slovakia), Patrizia Toia (Italy), Tunne Kelam (Estonia), Julie Ward (United Kingdom), José Manuel Fernandes (Portugal) and Anna Zaborska (Slovakia). Mrs Nicole Fontaine, former President of the European Parliament also attended the conference.
The speakers emphasized that the execution of political prisoners, women and juveniles, acid attacks against women and horrific punishments such as gouging eyes and amputating hands have continued in Iran. By creating such a climate of fear and terror, the regime wants to prevent protests and social uprisings.
The human rights situation has deteriorated under ‘moderate’ president Hassan Rouhani. He has been personally involved in most of the regime’s crimes. He defends the death sentences as orders of Islam or implementing the law. He has publicly boasted of deceiving the West on the nuclear issue. He considers the brutal regime of Bashar Assad in Syria as legitimate.
However the major policies are under the control of the supreme leader Ali Khamenei. The military, security, the judiciary as well as the nuclear program are all controlled by him. The terrorist Quds Force is at the helm of the regime’s policies in Iraq, Syria and the entire region and is closely controlled by Khamenei. In the past 10 years more than one hundred thousand Iraqis have been killed or displaced by the Quds Force or its militias. In the past four years the Iranian Revolutionary Guards has played the main role in the massacre of 250,000 Syrians, displacing half of this country’s entire population. These crimes have prepared the grounds for the growth and expansion of the criminal ISIS in the region.
The execution and crackdown of dissidents are not limited to Iran’s borders. Iran directly or through the Iraqi government has killed 116 Ashraf and Liberty residents and 22 other PMOI members have died because of a medical blockade. In the past two weeks, the Iraqi forces, under pressures from Tehran, have once again initiated a psychological torture by setting up a number of powerful loudspeakers outside Camp Liberty, by playing clerical regime’s dirges in Farsi and Arabic during different hours of day and night to provoke the inhabitants. This is while all the residents are Protected Persons under the 4th Geneva Convention and are political refugees. The UNHCR has described them to be in need of international protection.
The conference called on the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the UN Security Council, the US government and the EU to guarantee the safety and protection of Liberty residents; to ensure that the Liberty issue will not be controlled by individuals linked to the Iranian regime; to end the inhuman blockade of the camp, especially the medical siege; to declare Liberty as a refugee camp and to allow the residents to sell their property in Ashraf in order to pay for their expenses of resettlement outside of Iraq.
The failure of the Vienna negotiations showed that Iran is determined to continue its nuclear weapons program. International pressures and especially sanctions have forced Iran to accept an interim agreement but refused to sign a final deal to buy more time to complete its nuclear project.
The conference urged the EU member states, the UN and the United States, to condition the continuity of the political-trade relations with Iran to a clear improvement of human rights, the end of execution, torture and the crackdown on women.
The European lawmakers called on the P5+1 not to compromise with Iran on human rights for the sake of the nuclear negotiations.
Friends of a Free Iran