Iran Focus: Brussels, Feb. 25 – The European Parliament yesterday passed a resolution condemning Iran's human
rights violations and called on the European Union to sponsor a separate resolution, censuring Iran in the United Nations and demanding that a special representative be re-appointed to monitor the human rights situation in Iran. Iran Focus

Brussels, Feb. 25 – The European Parliament yesterday passed a resolution condemning Iran's human rights violations and called on the European Union to sponsor a separate resolution, censuring Iran in the United Nations and demanding that a special representative be re-appointed to monitor the human rights situation in Iran.

The EP condemned "the serious increase in human rights violations, notably the growing number of reports about executions, including executions of juvenile offenders, amputations, flogging in public, a generalised crackdown on the press and media, widespread arrests – especially of women and young people – on unclear or minor charges".

The resolution also called for "a moratorium on all executions" inside Iran.

The European Parliament called on "the UN Commission on Human Rights to re-appoint a special representative to monitor the human rights situation in Iran".

It went on to demand that the Iranian regime "grant free access for human rights monitors".

It said that it expected "the Iranian authorities to enact the promised legislation to prohibit the use of the death penalty for offences committed under the age of 18".

Rights activists said on Tuesday that an Iranian journalist was sentenced to 14 years in prison on charges ranging from espionage to insulting the country's leaders. Arash Sigarchi, 28, was convicted by the Revolutionary Court in the Caspian province of Gilan in northern Iran. Iranian authorities also separately confirmed a six-month prison sentence on Mohammad Reza Nasab Abdolahi, editor of the weblog Webnegar (Web Writer), for supposedly insulting the country's leaders and making anti-government propaganda.

On Wednesday, as U.S. President George W. Bush made his first tour of Europe after winning his second term in office, dozens of European parliamentarians called on Europe and the United States to develop a unified strategy to stop the Islamic Republic in its pursuit of nuclear weapons and human rights violations.

The parliamentarians who included two vice-Presidents of the European Parliament announced their collective opinion in Wednesday's edition of the International Herald Tribune.

"We have been encouraged by the words of President Bush to the Iranian people in his State of the Union address, when he said: 'As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you'," parts of their declaration read.

"We agree with Mrs Maryam Rajavi, leader of the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran, who said at the European Parliament: 'There is a third option beside appeasement of the mullahs or foreign military intervention: change brought about by the Iranian people and resistance'," it added.

The parliamentarians went on to voice their opposition to the EU's appeasement of the Iranian regime and called for the removal of the main Iranian opposition group, the People's Mojahedin, from the Europe's terror list, citing President Bush's recent remarks concerning the role of the Iranian opposition in revealing Iran's clandestine nuclear program to the international community.

Those making the call included Alejo Vidal-Quadras, First vice-President of the European Parliament, Edward McMillan-Scott, vice-President of the EP, Paulo Casaca, President of the EP delegation to Nato, and Struan Stevenson, co-Chair of the Friends of a Free Iran parliamentary group.