Human Rights

Seminar in EP debates Iran’s role in the Mideast

Speakers at a seminar on Iran in the European Parliament (EP) Tuesday said they support the Iranian nuclear deal but warned that the agreement would not change Iran’s destabilising policies and interference in the region.

In his opening remarks, a Member of the European Parliament from Estonia, Tunne Kelam, criticized the double-standards of the European Union in dealing with Iran by ingonring all human rights violations in the country.

“It is time to think about the EU strategy towards Iran. We have lacked a strategy,” he said.

“We have been concentrating on the Iran nuclear deal, which is part of the problem, but not the whole problem,” he said.

The seminar titled “Iran’s role in a restless Middle East: Restructuring a new European stance” was organised by the think-tank Brussels International Centre For Research and Human Rights.

Ambassador Nicolas Suran, French Representative to the EU Policy and Security Committee (PSC) said the European policy is based on a dual approach – to have a dialogue with Iran, while being firm.

“Iran has a destabilizing role in regional conflict, such as Yemen. We have decided to have a dialogue concerning this issue,” he said.

“The nuclear agreement is at the heart of the crisis, because it is to do with global security,” said the French diplomat.

Suran said that Iran’s missile programme is “an offensive programme” and called on the EU to put pressure on Iran to revise its programme.

Dr. Ethan Corbin, NATO Parliamentary Committee Director, Defence and Security Committee , said the decision by the US to pull out of the deal is a signal that “the US’ goal is to return to a hard containment policy with Iran.” “There is a transatlantic disagreement with Iran that goes far deeper than the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal) alone,” he added.

He added that both the EU and the US have “lost leverage of control on Iran.” Marc Otte, Belgium Special Envoy for Syria, called for “a new regional order, (whic is) rule-based under the UN system” for the Middle East.

On his part, Ramadan Abu Jazar, director of the Brussels International Centre said “EU relations with Iran should not be based on trying to safeguard the JCPOA.”

Source: Kuwait News Agency