European Leaders Show Support for Iran Protests

Article published on Feb. 10, 2018
Article published on Feb. 10, 2018

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

Throughout Iran, protests have become a way of life. The civil unrest has its base in the economic realities of many Iranians, who deal with shortages, lack of jobs, and increasingly expensive goods and services. In spite of these realities, the regime has ignored any opportunities for dialogue with the Iranian people. Instead, their focus has been oppression, meant to keep an opposition from gaining a foothold in the country.

There is evidence, which despite the lack of a clear leader of these protests, the Iranian people have had enough and are speaking out against the fundamentalism that is negatively impacting their lives. Throughout the international community, it is clear that support for the Iranian people is strong and growing.

On February 9, a conference entitled “Iran Uprising – International Call for Release of Detainees” was held and lawmakers and political personalities from 11 European countries participated. The lawmakers came from Italy, Britain, Germany, France, Poland, Ireland, Romania, Switzerland, Malta, Lithuania, and Portugal. Additionally, Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which is a coalition of opposition groups, spoke at the event.

Ms. Rajavi called on the international community to avoid continuing the path of appeasement, noting, “Appeasement will fuel more wars and crises in the region, but of course, it cannot prevent the overthrow of the clerical regime by the people of Iran.”

For the regime, these protests represent a sign that the regime is on its last legs. “There are signs of alarm and concern even inside the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] and Bassij militia. The wall of fear has been cracked, and nothing including arrests, killings, and torture can prevent the advancement of the protests to overthrow the regime,” said Rajavi.

She noted that the regime has tried to scare the international community and the Iranian people into believing that overthrowing the regime will lead to another Syria. The Iranian people have a deep-rooted resistance with a democratic focus, making it a viable option to the mullahs and their fundamentalism.

In a joint statement, the leaders from these different countries gave their support to the Iranian people. “These protests, along with the deteriorating economic conditions of the regime, such as unemployment and high costs, have brought the Iranian regime to its final stage. The official currency of the country has fallen by more than 15% in the past month…President Rouhani warned that the regime could have the fate of the Shah’s regime if it does not hear the voice of the people,” said the joint statement. “In these circumstances, we support the demands of Mrs. Maryam Rajavi to the Council of Europe on January 24, 2018, calling on the Council and the European Union and other international bodies ‘to adopt effective measures and binding decisions to compel the religious dictatorship ruling Iran to release prisoners of the uprising, uphold freedom of expression and association, end repression against women, and lift the compulsory veil.”

Martin Patzelt, a member of the Human Rights Committee of the Bundestag (Germany) from the ruling Christian Democratic Party, said, “We, as Europeans, are morally obligated to stand by young Iranian protesters who clearly and demonstrably showed and expressed their desire for regime change and attaining freedom and democracy. The notion that Iranian political landscape is defined by contest between ‘moderates’ and ‘hardliners’ was proven to be a myth. Europe should speak out in defense of detained protesters and demand their immediate, unconditional release.”

The reality is that these protests are a reflection of the regime’s failure to address the people’s needs, while they profit from their resources and the institutions based on systematic corruption. This recent conference is just another call for the international community, particularly Europe, to stand up for the Iranian people as a moral obligation, especially in light of the many human rights violations related to the prisoners.