Friday

22nd Jan 2021

Iran denies cancellation of EU lawmakers' trip

Several MEPs on Monday complained that the Iranian authorities made a last-minute cancellation of a planned trip to the country, but Tehran claimed that the EU lawmakers themselves postponed the visit.

"I regret this last minute move to block the EU Parliament visit to Iran, which is further proof of the Iranian authorities' blank refusal to allow any serious discussion about the grave unresolved issues in the country," German Green MEP Barbara Lochbihler, the delegation's chair, said in a statement.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Iranian police continues to crack down on demonstrators (Photo: Faramarz)

She indicated that the Iranian ambassador to Brussels, Ali Asghar Khaji, had "in a surprise move" blocked the visit to the country scheduled for 7-11 January.

But Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that it was the lawmakers themselves who had decided to postpone the visit. He did not give a reason for the delay.

The Iranian state news agency IRNA, meanwhile, said the delegation had cancelled the visit because of protests by members of the US Congress.

Ms Lochbihler confirmed that she had received a letter from Congress asking her not to go ahead with the visit and claiming that it would be counter-productive.

"The isolated voices within the US Congress and EU Parliament who opposed the visit have given an easy excuse to Iran to block the trip on grounds of "media pressure." It is also a blow to Iranian civil society, which had high hopes for a European Parliament visit that would show solidarity with the concerns of millions of Iranians who have supported the so-called "green" movement," she explained.

The EU lawmakers were due to meet human rights activists as well as Iranian parliamentarians, as Iran's opposition faces a government crackdown amid protests over the disputed June re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iranian security forces have arrested scores of opposition figures and dissidents since fierce clashes in Tehran on December 27 between police and protesters in which at last eight people were killed, according to opposition websites.

The EU has condemned Tehran's crackdown on opponents and called for the rights of protesters to be respected.

At a summit last month, EU leaders expressed support for new sanctions against Iran, warning that Tehran's refusal to negotiate over its nuclear programme must be met with a "clear response."

EU and Cuba appeal for Biden to open up

The EU is coaxing US president Joe Biden to open up to Cuba amid its worst economic crisis in decades, but foreign money risks feeding the regime's "feared" rule.

EU condemns US execution of Lisa Montgomery

The US executed 52-year old Lisa Montgomery, a death row inmate, on Wednesday. Montgomery had committed a gruesome murder but she was also mentally ill. The EU is now demanding the US reverse all pending federal-level executions

News in Brief

  1. Hungary buys Russia's Sputnik V vaccine
  2. Netherlands imposes curfew to halt new corona variant
  3. Green NGO fails to stop Europe's biggest gas burner
  4. Swedish minister reminds Europe of Russia's war
  5. Spain: Jesuit order apologises for decades of sexual abuse
  6. NGOs urge Borrell to address Egypt rights 'crisis'
  7. EU conflict-area education aid favours boys
  8. EU told to avoid hydrogen in building renovations

Opinion

The under-reported power struggle at the top of the OSCE

An internal power struggle has undermined the world's leading international security body since the summer. The OSCE is due to finally get new leaders in December but the unprecedented power vacuum has hit at a crunch time for hotspots worldwide.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. EU leaders keep open borders, despite new corona variant risk
  2. EU and Cuba appeal for Biden to open up
  3. Portugal's EU presidency marks return of corporate sponsors
  4. MEPs chide Portugal and Council in EU prosecutor dispute
  5. EU warns UK to be 'very careful' in diplomatic status row
  6. A digital euro - could it happen?
  7. US returns to climate deal and WHO, as EU 'rejoices'
  8. Big tech: From Trump's best friend to censorship machine?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us