Despite the fact that the financial aid for the Islamic Republic of Iran is a commitment resulting from the Iran nuclear deal, we must not ignore the human rights situation in the country
Iran will receive 18 million EUR from the European Union budget, as Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, announced on August 23. This is the first project of a wider package of 50 million EUR for Iran. The objective of the aid is to support the country in addressing its economic and social challenges.
Eight million EUR will be provided to support the private sector, eight million EUR to provide support for environmental projects and two million EUR to support drug harm reduction. Given the current international context, this decision confirms the EU commitment to the Iran nuclear deal, which I by no means question.
However, one cannot ignore the fact that there is no improvement in the situation of human rights in the country; human rights lawyers and activists have been detained, including Sakharov Prize recipient Nasrin Sotoudeh, whose release I called for in a letter addressed to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, along with my colleagues, members of European Parliament. Executions continue at a high rate. Freedom of speech is being suppressed by targeting journalists, activists and human rights defenders.
I consider the answers to my questions to HR/VP Mogherini to be crucial. Through my questions, I intend to find out whether the small and medium size enterprises will be the beneficiaries of this aid (and not the Iranian establishment) and whether the Iranian authorities will have a role in respect to the distribution of the aid or whether the EU and the UN will be solely in charge of it, . I am also requesting information on the conditions linked to the financial aid. Last but not least, I am requesting information on the way the European Commission will use this aid package with regard to the human rights situation in Iran. I have submitted these questions as urgent.
I will update you as soon as I receive a reply from HR/VP Mogherini. I will then be in a position to propose possible steps.