News Special Wire Euro-MPs reject Iran’s Rafsanjani as “return to ominous past”

Euro-MPs reject Iran’s Rafsanjani as “return to ominous past”

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Iran Focus: Strasbourg, Jun. 10 – Dozens of Euro-MPs agreed at a meeting at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday that the forthcoming presidential election in Iran offered no hope for moving the country away from the policies that have hampered relations with the West and caused
anxiety among Iran’s neighbours. Iran Focus

Strasbourg, Jun. 10 – Dozens of Euro-MPs agreed at a meeting at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday that the forthcoming presidential election in Iran offered no hope for moving the country away from the policies that have hampered relations with the West and caused anxiety among Iran’s neighbours.

The Euro-MPs, who took part in a meeting on Iran organised by the inter-parliamentary group “Friends of a Free Iran”, were particularly critical of strongman Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is widely seen as the front-runner in the run-up to the June 17 polls.

Another Rafsanjani presidency would be “a return to the darkest days of the Islamic Republic, marked by brutal suppression of dissidents inside Iran and assassination of many Iranian exiles abroad,” Euro-MP Paulo Casaca, who heads the parliament’s delegation to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, told the meeting.

Rafsanjani served as president in Iran from 1989 to 1997.

“Friends of a Free Iran” includes several high-profile members of the European Parliament, among them Alejo Vidal-Quadras, the Parliament’s First Vice-President from the centre-right People’s Party in Spain, and Scottish Conservative Struan Stevenson, Vice-President of the powerful Christian Democrat-Conservatives Group and Leader of European Democrats.

The Euro-MPs concurred that the upcoming elections in Iran were illegitimate as there were “no independent candidates”.

“The eight candidates approved by the Guardian Council share responsibility for many of the atrocities in Iran in the past twenty-five years. Four were commanders of the Revolutionary Guards Corps with direct involvement in the suppression and execution of political opponents”, they said in a joint statement at the end of the meeting.

As in the past, all candidates taking part in the elections have to prove their allegiance to the doctrine of the velayat-e fagih (absolute supremacy of clerical rule) before being allowed to participate in the election.

Rafsanjani speaking to state-run press yesterday said that he did not believe that it was necessary to reform the current velayat-e fagih doctrine.

“During his eight-year tenure [as president”>, dozens of Iranian dissidents were assassinated in Europe. A Berlin Court in 1997 implicated him as one of the masterminds of terrorist attack against four Iranian dissidents at the Mykonos Restaurant. Another candidate is Mostafa Moin who served under Khatami. Under his watch, the 1999 student uprising in Tehran and elsewhere was crushed”, the Euro-MPs said.

“Investing on Iranian regime’s internal factions is tantamount to betting on a dead horse and would only embolden Iran’s rulers to step up domestic repression and gain more time to pursue their nuclear weapons’ program. Europe should identify with the millions in Iran whose cry is freedom and not their oppressors”.

Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, was the keynote speaker. Speaking to the EP members, Mohaddessin said, “Elections in Iran are not an exercise in the democratic process; they are a means to legitimize an otherwise illegitimate theocracy. Based on a nationwide poll taken by the People’s Mojahedin, of the 1,730 persons asked about the election, 92 percent said they would not cast their ballots”.

“That said, regardless of the outcome, the regime will emerge much weaker and the crisis will only deepen because whoever wins cannot resolve the very serious problems facing the regime”, he added.

A recently-smuggled video tape of the public execution of three young men in the city of Khoramabad (western Iran) was screened at the meeting. The tape had been smuggled out of the country by supporters of the main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), according to Casaca.

The Euro-MPs also censured U.S.-based Human Rights Watch for its mid-May report on the PMOI, which alleged the group violated the rights of its members. They described the report as being “biased and politically motivated”.

“In our view, the report by Human Rights Watch was in line with the policy of appeasing the regime in Tehran. While condemning this biased report, we are dismayed at the refusal of the HRW to retract this procedurally flawed and substantively inaccurate report that was based on testimonies by agents of the Iran’s Intelligence Ministry”, they said.

They also stated that the Iranian regime will “no doubt use this report to justify its atrocities, in particular its crackdown on dissidents”.

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