UK, EU governments and their foreign policy chief should make it clear to Iranian regime that their conduct towards Iranians is unacceptable

They should stand up against Tehran's growing regional meddling and ballistic missile program

Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, is to visit Brussels this week for meetings with his counterparts from the UK, France and Germany and EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini. The visit comes at a time when the nationwide anti-government protests in Iran are nearing the end of their second week.

People in more than 130 cities and towns across Iran exercising their right to peaceful demonstration have been violently suppressed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and other security forces.

Thousands of people have been arrested. According to Amnesty international, five detainees are reported to have died in custody. The human right organisation has further state that: “The shroud of secrecy and lack of transparency over what happened to these detainees is alarming.

Those suspected of having any responsibility for these deaths should be suspended from their positions and prosecuted in proceedings that respect international fair trial standards and without recourse to the death penalty.”

The events of the past two weeks have reinstated our previous warnings that it would be naïve to think that an agreement on Tehran’s nuclear programme and trade would encourage reforms from within the theocratic regime.

Zarif’s government must understand that the least it should do is to free the thousands of people who have been arrested arbitrarily in the current uprising, restrain the IRGC’s power and stop the domestic crackdown by security forces, allowing the Iranian people to engage in genuine freedom of expression, political opposition and peaceful protests.

In the region, Tehran must halt its support for the Assad regime in Syria and the Houthis in Yemen. It must end its meddling in Iraq and assistance to the terrorist group Hezbollah, and it must cease its ballistic missile program which, as well as being a threat to the countries in the region threatens our peace and security.

Anything short of that would signal a continuation of the current oppressive and malign policies that has earned Iran its pariah status.

British Committee for Iran Freedom

10 January 2018