23rd May 2019

Patten defends EU-Iran dialogue

The external relations Commissioner Chris Patten has strongly defended the EU's ongoing dialogue with Iran in the face of objections from MEPs and Iranian opposition parties.

"Dialogue began in December, I am not prepared to say that it has not been a success after one month" said the Commissioner while indicating that he still strongly backs a strategy of constructive engagement with Iran.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Critics of the tripartite dialogue involving trade, human rights and co-operation on terrorism have objected to the dialogue going on while the number of people executed in Iran continues to rise.

According to the vocal National Council of Resistance of Iran - a group made up largely of members of the People's Mujahideen, a party on the EU's terror list - 31 prisoners were hung or sentenced to death in the first two weeks of January this year.

The group also claims that there were 474 publicly announced executions in 2002 representing a 50% increase from 2001.

Progress must be made

Outlining one reason for this approach, Mr Patten said the intention was to encourage Iran to act more responsibly in regional and international affairs and to "strengthen moderate reformist forces in Iran."

However, aware of the dangers involved in this approach, Mr Patten issued a number of qualifications designed, in part, to reassure the critics but some of which served as a warning to the Iranian government.

"We would not be prepared to make progress and agree in one area without progress and agreement in the other areas," he said, adding "we have to be able to benchmark progress."

He went on to issue a pointed warning to the Iranian government saying "I do not believe dialogue without progress in the long term can be justified." He continued: "reformers have history on their side, I just hope it does not take too long for history to unravel."

Iran - Patten calls for "concrete improvements"

The EU has given its strongest indication to date that Iran's slow progress in improving human rights is jeopardising EU-Iran relations. Speaking in Tehran on Wednesday, External Relations Commissioner, Chris Patten called on Iran's leaders to make "concrete improvements on the ground."


EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

EU urges US not to start war with Iran

Europe's top diplomats have said US actions risked triggering a conflict with Iran, as America makes plans to pour troops into Middle East in echoes of Iraq war.

EU-Sahel talks next week amid 'unprecedented attacks'

Officials from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger are meeting EU foreign, defence, and development ministers next week in Brussels. The visit comes amid "unprecedented levels" of armed attacks, says the UN.

News in Brief

  1. Poll: Denmark set to double number of liberal MEPs
  2. European brands 'breaking' chemical safety rules
  3. Report: Merkel was lobbied to accept EU top job
  4. May struggling to get Brexit deal passed at fourth vote
  5. German MPs show interest in 'Magnitsky' sanctions
  6. CoE: Rights violations in Hungary 'must be addressed'
  7. EU affairs ministers rubber-stamp new ban on plastics
  8. Private companies campaign to boost turnout in EU poll


EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us