Nearly 200 European Parliament members issued a joint statement on Monday calling on the EU to adopt effective measures and binding decisions – without providing specifics – to compel Iran to release its political prisoners.
“We are quite critical of the current policy of the EU regarding Iran and call on the EU and European governments to adopt effective measures and binding decisions to compel the regime to release political prisoners,” says the statement.
The parliamentarians are also concerned with a growing pressure and threats to the Iranian opposition coming living in exile. According to AFP, on January 2, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called France’s President Emmanuel Macron and asked him to take action against a Paris-based Iranian opposition, which he accused of fomenting protests that shook Iran in January.
Mass anti-government protests started on 28 December in Mashad and soon gripped more than 100 Iranian cities, including Tehran. According to various estimates, up to 350,000 people participated in the largest protests seen in the country since the failed 2009 Green Revolution.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused “Iran’s enemies” of fomenting the protests.
The EU and France have done their best to keep the situation from escalating into a direct confrontation with Tehran as both Brussels and Paris are supportive of the current nuclear deal, which is currently in doubt after US President Donald J. Trump’s statements that he wants to scrap the agreement