The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF) is alarmed over the recent spike in the number of executions in Iran, especially the use of death penalty against minors.
According to reports from Iranian activists, the judicial authorities have sentenced four juvenile offenders to death despite international calls from the UN and other international NGOs urging Tehran regime to stop these executions as they are clear breaches of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, both ratified by Iran.
These recent death sentences are not just a blatant disregard for international concerns but also a continuation of what the UN Secretary-General recently described as “a worrying trend in Iran” with over 700 reported executions so far this year, including at least 40 public, which marks “the highest total recorded in the past 12 years.”
The domestic repression is however not limited to the extensive use of death penalty but also includes arbitrary arrest of journalists and bloggers under the made-up charges of “waging war against god, espionage, spreading propaganda and acting against the system” as well as daily harassment of women under the pretext “mal-veiling”.
Iran will be judged by the actions of its government and senior leaders rather than President Rouhani's charm offensive abroad.
The BPCIF condemns and reiterates its deep concern over recent executions and arrests in Iran, as raised by MPs and Peers in two conferences in the House of Commons, on September 15 and October 19, discussing the appalling human rights situation in the country.
In these conferences, the BPCIF announced a statement including policy recommendations on Iran to the UK government and the FCO that has so far been supported by 200 MPs from both Houses of Parliament. The statement says, “Human rights must be a central factor in our relations with Iran [and] cannot be decoupled from the nuclear discussions. We must make it clear to rulers of Iran that their behaviour towards their own people is unacceptable. We must not turn a blind eye to the grave violation of human rights in Iran. On the contrary, expressions of concern about the human rights situation in Iran must be a priority in any bilateral relationship.”
We, therefore, urge the government, the EU and its members states to make tangible and concrete improvements in the human rights situation, an end to the use of death penalty and release of all political prisoners prior to any major change in economic relations with Tehran.
In the wake of Rouhani's planned visits to Italy and France in mid-November, it is important that European governments raise and emphasise these demands in their meetings with the Iranian regime.
British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom
26 October 2015