Elections in Iran: European Parliament Resolution on Iran (P5_TA-PROV(2004)0100)

February 13, 2004

The European Parliament,

  • having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2001 on the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on EU relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran(1),

  • having regard to its previous resolutions on Iran,

  • having regard to the UNGA Resolution of December 2003 on human rights,

  • having regard to the recent report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Ambeyi Ligabo, which criticises, in particular, the fact that freedom of expression in Iran has declined considerably in recent years,

  • having regard to Rule 50(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. recognising the sovereign right of the Iranian people to choose their constitutional framework,

B.committed to universal values such as the rule of law, respect for human rights and democracy,

C.whereas information on the banning of candidates by the Council of Guardians changes on a daily basis and there are currently still about 75 sitting MPs banned from fighting this general election; whereas, in all cases, the extent of these disqualifications is unprecedented and concerns - among the current members - almost exclusively parliamentarians of the Participation Front, close to President Khatami,

D.emphasising that the right to stand for elections is an essential element of democratic life and that exceptions should therefore be clearly defined under the law, in accordance with internationally accepted democratic standards,

E.restating its continued support for the process of reform in Iran and reaffirming once again its willingness to strengthen political and economic relations between EU and Iran,

F.following with deep concern the political debate in Iran on the procedures governing the establishment of the lists of candidates for the next Parliament,

G.noting that President Khatami, together with Majlis Speaker Karrubi, in a letter to Ayatollah Khamenei finally agreed to hold the elections, but warned that 'the actions of the Guardian Council had diminished competition and would lead to reduced public enthusiasm for voting'; fearing that the public will be further frustrated and alienated from the political class as a whole and that a likely huge abstention rate at the elections will play into the hands of the conservative and backward-oriented forces and will add to the strong dissatisfaction particularly of the younger generation with the lack of political and social progress after 25 years of Islamic Revolution;

H.whereas Iran has the potential to play an important and constructive role in the region;

  1. Shares the view of the Iranian President and a majority of Majlis Members that the upcoming elections cannot be described as free and fair, primarily due to the exclusion of many candidates, including acting parliamentarians;

  2. Regrets that the efforts towards the establishment of democratic structures have suffered a severe setback as unelected structures have shown themselves to be stronger than those institutions directly legitimated by the people of Iran;

  3. Notes that the undermining of the reform-minded majority of the current Majlis by the Guardian Council has been a continuous phenomenon: since 2000, more than one third of all bills ratified by the parliament have been vetoed by the Guardian Council;

  4. Expresses its respect and understanding for the resignation of about 127 Members of the Iranian Majlis as a consequence of so many Members being prevented from standing again in the upcoming election on 20 February 2004;

  5. Regrets that its wish to send an observer mission to the elections did not materialise because of lack of support from the Iranian side;

  6. Warns that the lack of respect for democratic procedures may lead not only to a parliament unable to legitimise itself but also to a weakening of Iran's stance in the international community, which would not leave EU-Iran relations unaffected;

  7. Regrets that an election under those circumstances will not be a good example for the already fragile region of the greater Middle East;

  8. Remains convinced that a continued dialogue of all relevant European institutions with Iranian decision-makers, different political forces and civil society is more important than ever, inter alia in EP-Majlis relations, and welcomes the intention to set up a separate EP delegation for relations with Iran;

  9. Regrets, while acknowledging Iran's participation in the human rights dialogue, the limited scope of this dialogue, insists on a more result-oriented approach with regard to specific topics and calls for broader participation of MEPs in this dialogue;

  10. Would welcome a more active participation of the Iranian judiciary and the Guardian Council in the EU-Iran human rights dialogue;

  11. Is prepared to identify, in addition to existing cooperation between the EU and Iran, other areas of common concern;

  12. Recognises again the positive move made by Iran in signing the Additional Protocol for nuclear material safeguards and hopes that the Majlis will ratify the text within a reasonable deadline;

  13. Calls on the Council and the Commission to work on joint activities with Iran to combat drugs production in Afghanistan, drugs abuse in Iran and the illegal transit of drugs through Iran on their way to Europe, and especially to supply Iran with the necessary technical equipment to enable the competent authorities to be more effective; welcomes in this respect Iran's preparedness to share sensitive information;

  14. Calls on the Iranian Government to pursue a more active and constructive policy in order to contribute to conflict resolution in the greater Middle East region;

  15. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the President and Parliament of Iran.