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9 MEPs criticise EU chief for sending official to attend inauguration of new Iran president

August 10, 2021 at 9:32 am

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell attends 14th Dubrovnik Forum, in Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 10, 2021 [Dario Lepoglavec/Dubrovnik Forum/Anadolu Agency]

Nine members of the European Parliament (MEP) have criticised EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell for sending a senior diplomat to attend a swear-in ceremony of new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

“Sending such senior representation to the inauguration of a president with such a dark record, at this sensitive time, contradicts European commitments to uphold and stand up for human rights,” the MEPs wrote in a letter to Borrell.

Borrell sent European External Action Service (EEAS) Deputy Secretary-General Enrique Mora to Tehran to attend Raisi’s swearing-in ceremony.

The MEPs slammed Raisi’s electoral victory as a “sham election” and decried his “appalling record of personal responsibility for the most heinous of human rights abuses.”

“It is hardly fitting to honor President Raisi’s inauguration with the presence of one of the EU’s most senior diplomats,” the MEPs wrote.

“It seems even more incongruous, given Mr. Mora’s senior role in coordinating the nuclear talks in Vienna. His presence risks giving the impression that the EU’s overwhelming concern is the nuclear agreement, to the point of ignoring severe Iranian human rights abuses.”

READ: Haniyeh arrives in Iran to attend president’s swearing-in ceremony

Speaking to the Times of Israel, Swedish MEP David Lega, who initiated the letter, said: “We need to have a discussion about how to deal with Iran in the future… Their cyber-warfare, their complete disrespect for human rights domestically, but also the security threat they pose to a lot of countries around them, not least of all Israel.”

He added that dispatching Mora to Iran “sends the completely wrong signal to Iran.”

“If we mean what we are saying about European values about human rights, about respect for the rule of law, we also need to show that by our actions.”