Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Prime Minister of Denmark
President of the European Council
Secretary General of the European Council,
High Representative for Common Foreign
and Security Policy
I write to you today to welcome your efforts for the achievement of international peace and stability by way of addressing regional and international issues such as the Middle East Peace Process, weapons of mass destruction, non-proliferation and international terrorism, with the current regime in my country.
At the same time, on behalf of my countrymen, I should like to express my deep concern and fear that despite your genuine attempts to encourage freedom and democracy, the wide-scale abuse of human rights are continuing unabated, with the assent and complicity of the Islamic Republic authorities, who firmly believe that for Europe a strong economic presence takes precedence over its proclaimed values such as human rights and democracy.
Within the past three weeks alone, at a time when there are clear indications that relations between the European Union and the clerical regime of Iran have strengthened, the pace of deterioration of basic human rights in my country has rapidly increased.
Tens of my countrymen, including women and men under the age of 18, have been tortured, flogged, hanged from cranes, maimed and stoned in public. The Iranian regime has furthered its contempt for freedom of expression by recently holding at least ten journalists in jail, and summoning numerous editors and Parliamentarians to court. Even the Head of the Islamic Republic News Agency has been summoned and charged for publishing results of a public opinion survey.
In my country, not a day goes by without reports of new arrests, disappearances and harassment of citizens, journalists and those with alternate points of view.
Europe must care, and not allow such acts to continue unchallenged. I ask that, in pursuit of economic opportunities in Iran, the European Union not lose sight of the demands, needs and fundamental rights of the Iranian people.
Governments and business sectors alike bear a special responsibility to invest in the people of Iran, and not the brutal religious dictatorship ruling it. As you will undoubtedly agree, ultimately investments in people far outlast investments in regimes, especially those in direct conflict with their own people.
I therefore urge Your Excellencies to use the moral authority of your good offices to send a clear and unwavering signal of support to the people of Iran: that Europe stands with them, and not against them.
Accordingly, on behalf of my countrymen, I strongly urge the European Union, as a precondition for expanded economic ties with Iran, demand the observance of human rights by the clerical regime. In particular, the regime must make measurable progress and meet specific milestones which include:
- Release of all writers, editors, publishers, students and others detained or imprisoned for their exercise of freedom of expression;
- The immediate cease in the use of torture against prisoners;
- Honoring the basic right of all prisoners to have immediate and regular access to legal counsel as well as family and medical visits;
- Allowing members of the international community to verify that all prisoners, political or otherwise, in Iran are treated with dignity and fairness;
- Lifting the ban on free press, and
- Recognizing the demands and unalienable right of the Iranian people to freely choose their political future by holding an internationally observed free, fair and transparent national referendum towards that end.
I urge you to resolutely and without compromise consider this appeal. The Iranian people deserve no less and shall remember those who will come to their aide in their gravest time of need.