Estonian MEP Tunne Kelam said sanctions were working and it was now crucial not to make any concessions, adding: “Instead of investing vain hopes in a so called moderate president, we need to be careful and demanding until final agreement has been reached.
“Final reduction of sanctions can take place on condition that Tehran agrees on massive reduction of its nuclear infrastructures, that they allow unannounced inspections, and that they address the systematic build-up of missile capability.
“Second, any agreement must be linked to critical change in Iranian human rights policy. Iran still is the leading country in executions and torture and is continuing it under the new president.
“Finally, Madam Ashton has not managed to achieve security for Iranian opposition inmates in camp Liberty. They are the hostages of Iraqi security forces. We should do our utmost to adopt these people as the UN has suggested.”
Polish MEP Kryzysztof Lisek demanded a respect for human rights and freedom of speech in Iran, telling the parliament: “We have to point these things out to Iran. Our report made it clear how important a role Iran plays in the region and therefore needs step by step to make progress through dialogue on the nuclear issue in order to bring Iran into the international fold.”
Derk Ian Eppink, MEP from the Netherlands, said: “Some say that president Rouhani is a moderate. I disagree. In 2013, 660 executions took place in Iran, two thirds under the authority of Mr. Rouhani.
“He also appointed Aboutalebi as the Iranian ambassador to the UN. He was one of the students who seized the American embassy in 1979. So, he is a terrorist.
“The Minister of foreign affairs Zarif recently lead a visit at the grave of Imad Mugniyah, who was the mastermind of bombing of US marines in Lebanon in 1983. At the same time Camp Liberty is under siege and nothing is done about it. These are not really signs of confidence and bridge-building measures.
“I wish Commissioner Ashton all the best in the future but I do hope her name will not enter into history as the Chamberlain of our times.”
Oldrich Vlasak, Vice-president of European Parliament, added: “There are no signs of positive developments in Iranian human rights. The number of public executions is still increasing. Last year 700 people were executed. Soon, a 26 year old girl is to be executed for resisting rape.
“The refugees who moved from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty are now being tortured in Iraq. Any relationship with the Iranian regime has to be on the basis of significant improvement on human rights situation.”
And Italian MEP Oreste Rossi said: “When you talk about Iran we shouldn’t forget 3,000 refugees from persecution in that country. They have been prisoners first of all in Camp Ashraf and now in Camp Liberty.
“In Camp Ashraf where last September there was an armed attack which led to the massacre of 52 innocent refugees and opposition representatives probably with complicity from Iraqi authorities. Their bodies have been disappeared.
“During the attack seven hostages were taken away including six women and nothing more is known about them. These are crimes against humanity and I cannot understand why Lady Ashton has not taken a position strongly condemning the Iranian regime. On the contrary, she went to Iran to pay homage to Rouhani wearing a veil.”
And MEP Petito Salatto, vice-chair of the EP Delegation for Relations with Iran, said: “The Iranian president is trying to be more moderate than his predecessor. We reply with as much hypocrisy saying that this government must be moderate because we want an economic relationship with it.”
The European Parliament passed a resolution calling on the EU to be more active in addressing the human rights situation in Iran.