The EU is supposed to value and respect the human rights of all. So why did several of its officials attend the inauguration of a president who has a horrific human rights record? During his first term, Rouhani oversaw thousands of executions and numerous crackdowns on the people. Only last week, Amnesty International released a report detailing the gravity of the situation in the country. It mentioned how the people are imprisoned and tortured for standing up for their rights.

To see EU officials attend the inauguration of such a president must be very hurtful to the Iranian people. They are effectively ignoring the pain and suffering that goes on inside Iran and are confirming that it is less of a concern than diplomatic and political relations.

The election process was also a complete farce in Iran and nobody can use the argument that Rouhani is a moderate. Rouhani, along with several others, was shortlisted because of his allegiance to the Supreme Leader Khamenei. Rouhani cannot change anything about the Iranian regime because he is quite simply a tool used by the Supreme Leader, the ultimate ruler of the country.

Political prisoners are treated with such cruelty and viciousness, and people bravely risk their lives every day just to speak out against the regime. Mistreatment of the people is nothing new in the country. For decades, political opponents of the regime have been arrested and hurt or killed. In 1988, more than 30,000 political prisoners were executed in what has become known as the 1988 massacre. The Supreme Leader at that time issued a fatwa calling for all these executions.

Corruption is rife in the regime at all levels. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force is led by the notorious criminal Qassem Suleimani. Even officials who were part of the 1988 massacre hold positions of power. How can anyone say that there is a chance of moderation in the leadership of Iran?

The people of Iran want freedom. Freedom in all aspects of life is what the people have been dreaming of for a long time. And their struggle may be set to end soon. At the opposition’s “Free Iran” rally in Paris last month, many former officials and prominent political figures from around the world declared their support for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). They said that the Resistance has come so far in the past few years, and the toppling of the regime is inevitable and will happen soon.

So instead of supporting the corrupt, criminal, cruel and callous Iranian regime, maybe EU officials could show their support for the people that are suffering. The EU and the rest of the West should be conditioning their relations with Iran on a complete halt of executions, among other urgent issues.