MEK: Europe Cancels Conference with Iran after Regime Executes Journalist
Four European countries pulled out of a joint online conference with Iran after the December 12 execution of dissident journalist Rouhollah Zam. The Europe-Iran Business Forum was scheduled to begin on Monday with keynote addresses from European Union High Representative Josep Borrell and Iranian regime Foreign Minister Javad Zarif but was canceled after the French, Austrian, German, and Italian ambassadors boycotted the conference in protest of the regime’s execution of Mr. Zam.
France, Germany, Italy, and the EU released a joint statement on December 12 addressing the decision. “The European Union condemns this act in the strongest terms,” the statement began, adding that it is “imperative for the Iranian authorities to uphold the due process rights of accused individuals and to cease the practice of using televised confessions to establish and promote their guilt.”
Zarif’s diplomat is in jail in Belgium for terrorism in Europe but EU external services welcome the terrorist’s boss for discussion instead of condemning the regime. #Ban_Zarif #MEK #Iran #ShutdownIranTerrorEmbassies pic.twitter.com/p4NEf4ETDa
— MEK Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq) (@MEK_Iran) December 16, 2020
On December 13, the French Foreign Ministry tweeted that it would not participate in the conference because of the “barbaric and unacceptable execution of journalist Rouhollah Zam.”
The German Foreign Affairs Ministry tweeted a similar statement declining to participate in the conference.
‘Corruption on Earth’
Rouhollah Zam, 47, ran the popular Amad news site and coordinated its channel on Telegram, a popular messaging app in Iran. His site published news critical of the regime and its leaders and was widely read despite censorship laws in Iran.
During the 2017/2018 Uprising, the regime accused Zam of using his site to stir up unrest by publishing articles about the nationwide anti-government protests. Zam fled to France, where he was offered asylum. In 2019, Zam was lured to Iraq, kidnapped by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and brought back to Iran to stand trial.
We are horrified at Iran's execution of journalist Rouhollah Zam. The use of the death penalty against him over his media work was absolutely prohibited under international law. His execution shows the extent of Iran's brutal tactics to repress dissent. https://t.co/S6EQazCoAz
— Amnesty Iran (@AmnestyIran) December 12, 2020
Zam was convicted of “corruption on earth” for alleged national security crimes committed from 2016 until the time of his arrest. National security charges are generally brought against dissidents, activists, human rights defenders, and anyone who is critical of the regime. The charges carry heavy penalties and trials are conducted without due process.
Zam was executed by hanging on December 12 after the regime’s Supreme Court upheld his sentence.
The regime’s judiciary has been handing down unusually harsh sentences to activists and protesters this year in an attempt to prevent another uprising like the ones in 2017/2018, November 2019, and January 2020. Many of those who were detained during those protests have received harsh sentences or have already been executed. the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran). members have also been targeted for their key role in organizing and leading the uprisings. Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi was a notorious death commissioner during the 1988 Massacre of 30,000 the (PMOI / MEK Iran). members and has publicly stated that the resistance organization should be eliminated.
Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook: “The @Reuters report on the massacre ordered by @khamenei_ir underscores the urgency for the international community to punish the perpetrators and isolate the regime for the murder of 1,500 Iranian citizens.” https://t.co/TpUncLjDcv
— Department of State (@StateDept) December 23, 2019
Consequences for the Regime
The Europe-Iran Business Forum was intended to “pave the way for expanded trade and investment relations, particularly in light of the positive outcome of the US elections,” according to the website for the event.
The regime has been trying to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with European signatories even as it has ramped up its uranium enrichment program. Proponents of the nuclear deal have expressed hope that the incoming Biden administration may restore U.S. participation in the deal, but the regime is currently on unstable footing. The combination of a publicized human rights abuse with a diplomatic disaster in Europe is a significant setback for the mullahs.
Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), underlined the consequences of the regime’s actions. “Europe’s refusal to participate in a business forum with Iran sends a clear and welcome message: the world will not turn a blind eye to the profound human rights violations taking place in the Islamic Republic,” Ghaemi said.
The criminal execution of #RuhollahZam is reprehensible.
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) December 12, 2020