EJP: EJC President Kantor: Parliament Iran visit must not go ahead

European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor called on senior European Union leaders to cancel the upcoming visit to Iran by a delegation from the European Parliament scheduled to take place later this month.

The letter sent to President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, the leaders of each parliamentary Group and the Chairpersons of the European Parliament’s Human Rights Committee, Security and Defense Committee and Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee.”If this visit were to be allowed to go ahead, it would send troubling messages to those groups inside and outside Iran who are risking so much in their fight for democracy, the rights of women and those of ethnic and religious minorities in Iran,” Kantor wrote in letters addressed to the senior figures.

“Moreover, a visit to the Majlis (the Iranian Parliament) itself, where nearly a third of the legislators are former members of the Revolutionary Guards Corps and thus, implicated in wide-scale human rights abuse, would bring disgrace not only on the delegation, but on the institution of the European Parliament itself.”

“There is little doubt that this visit will be portrayed as official legitimacy granted by the European Parliament for the Islamic Republic of Iran and a vital boost to its diplomatic standing at a time when democratic countries around the world are now recognizing beyond any doubt that Iran represents the most significant threat to global peace and security today.”

Kantor also noted the timing of the delegation, soon after a meeting of European Union Foreign Ministers decided to strengthen existing sanctions against Iran.

“We strongly welcome this move by the European Union and are therefore surprised that the European Parliament, the UnionÕs ultimate symbol of democracy and human rights, should be seen in any way as granting legitimacy to a regime which has shown a constant disdain for basic human rights and democratic practices in its own country while simultaneously threatening the very physical existence of its neighbors and in particular, the State of Israel” Kantor wrote.

“We believe that such a visit would be instrumentalized by the Iranian regime, as was a similar visit in 2007, in order to whitewash human rights abuses in the country as well as to show that the European Union is not serious in its policy of maintaining Iran as a pariah state as its seeks dangerous nuclear proliferation in such a potentially volatile region of the world.”

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