Jewish groups have criticized the failure of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee this week to mention in its Iran report Tehran’s anti-Semitic propaganda, support for Holocaust denial and repeated calls for the destruction of Israel.
The report authored by British MEP Richard Howitt, a member of the European Socialist group (S&D) and of British Labour, deals with the EU strategy of normalization in its relations with Iran followingthe nuclear agreement.
It contains one single criticism of Iran, regarding its use of the death penalty.
It was approved on Thursday by the Foreign Affairs Committee in Strasbourg and will now go for a vote in the plenary.
“The report in its current form is a serious blow to the standing of the European Parliament as a defender of human rights, justice and freedom,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) EU Office, the AJC Transatlantic Institute.
“It is incomprehensible how European leaders and business delegations flock to Tehran and embrace its leaders while the regime calls for the annihilation of the EU’s most crucial ally and only democracy in the region, Israel. By ignoring these threats to the Jewish state and Iran’s ridiculing of the Holocaust as a matter of state policy, Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee failed in its responsibility to confront the scourge of anti-Semitism, which 70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz is resurging in Europe,” Schwammenthal said.‘
’The report further fails to adequately address Iran’s horrific human rights abuses and external aggression, primarily its critical support for Assad’s brutal war on his own population, and its support for international terrorism,’’ he added.‘’
As the world watches helplessly the medieval siege and merciless bombardment of Aleppo, it is distressing that the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee didn’t find the moral clarity to admonish Assad’s Iranian enablers. By giving Tehran basically a free pass on its crimes at home and abroad, the report undermines Parliament’s credibility as a serious foreign policy voice and abandons the people of Iran and the regime’s other countless victims in the region.’
’Schwammenthal urged MEPs ‘’to put forward further amendments before the plenary vote that would clearly condemn Iran’s atrocious human rights record, external aggression and threats against the Jewish state and support for terrorism, especially Hezbollah.”
“As party to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the European Union must also be clear-eyed about the evidence pointing to Iran’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons since signing the deal,” Mr. Schwammenthal added.
“While calling for the strict implementation of the JCPOA, the report unfortunately ignores alarming German intelligence reports on Iran’s continued attempts to illegally acquire nuclear weapon material.”
“It is equally puzzling that the report urges closer cooperation on counter-terrorism instead of condemning Tehran as the ‘foremost sponsor of terrorism.’ As a forward-looking institution, the Europeran Parliament should have urged the Council to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization, following the lead of Canada, the Netherlands and the Arab League,” he said.
European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor said: “Iran is playing an extremely negative role in the region and beyond and it seems a little absurd to be rewarding the Iranian regime at this time.”
“Europe has a lot of bargaining chips to ensure a less recalcitrant Iran and it is giving them away upfront. This report barely criticizes one of the worst abusers of human rights and terrorist supporting regimes anywhere in the world,” he added.