AJC Transatlantic Institute Deeply Concerned over Weak European Parliament Iran Report

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AJC Transatlantic Institute Deeply Concerned over Weak European Parliament Iran Report

Brussels – 6 October 2016 – The AJC Transatlantic Institute is deeply concerned over the failure of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee to mention let alone criticize in its Iran report Tehran’s anti-Semitic propaganda and repeated calls for the destruction of Israel. The report further fails to adequately address Iran’s horrific human rights abuses and external aggression, primarily its critical support for Assad’s brutal war on his own population, and its support for international terrorism.

“The report in its current form is a serious blow to the standing of the European Parliament as a defender of human rights, justice and freedom,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the AJC’s EU Office, the AJC Transatlantic Institute. “As the world watches helplessly the medieval siege and merciless bombardment of Aleppo, it is distressing that the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee didn’t find the moral clarity to admonish Assad’s Iranian enablers. By giving Tehran basically a free pass on its crimes at home and abroad, the report undermines Parliament’s credibility as a serious foreign policy voice and abandons the people of Iran and the regime’s other countless victims in the region. We thus urge MEPs to put forward further amendments before the plenary vote that would clearly condemn Iran’s atrocious human rights record, external aggression and threats against the Jewish state and support for terrorism, especially Hezbollah.”

The report entitled “EU Strategy towards Iran after the nuclear agreement” was authored by British Labour MEP Richard Howitt. The final text was this morning approved by the Foreign Affairs Committee. The report is set to be voted on in plenary between October 24-27, 2016. “As party to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the European Union must also be clear-eyed about the evidence pointing to Iran’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons since signing the deal,” Mr. Schwammenthal added. “While calling for the strict implementation of the JCPOA, the report unfortunately ignores alarming German intelligence reports on Iran’s continued attempts to illegally acquire nuclear weapon material.”

“It is incomprehensible how European leaders and business delegations flock to Tehran and embrace its leaders while the regime calls for the annihilation of the EU’s most crucial ally and only democracy in the region, Israel. By ignoring these threats to the Jewish state and Iran’s ridiculing of the Holocaust as a matter of state policy, Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee failed in its responsibility to confront the scourge of anti-Semitism, which 70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz is resurging in Europe,” Mr. Schwammenthal said. “The report further calls on the bloc to deepen cooperation with Tehran on drug-related programmes, but fails to note Tehran’s own involvement in the international drug trade via its fully-owned proxy Hezbollah. Parliament ought to take note that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in February 2016 uncovered a massive Hezbollah Drug and Money Laundering Scheme.”

“It is equally puzzling that the report urges closer cooperation on counter-terrorism instead of condemning Tehran as the ‘foremost sponsor of terrorism.’ As a forward-looking institution, Parliament should have urged the Council to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization, following the lead of Canada, the Netherlands and the Arab League,” Mr. Schwammenthal said.

The AJC Transatlantic Institute is the EU Office of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), a non-partisan organization founded in 1906 and dedicated to defending universal human rights throughout the world.