France, Germany and the UK have summoned Iranian ambassadors as part of a coordinated diplomatic protest against Iran’s detention of binationals and its treatment of political prisoners.
Iranian Ambassador to the UK Hamid Baeidinejad was summoned by the Foreign Office on Tuesday to meet with senior officials, and Iranian ambassadors in Paris and Berlin were also called up this week. A letter delivered to Baeidinejad and seen by the Guardian indicates that Iran’s policy of arbitrary detention seriously damages its international reputation.
It is the first coordinated initiative of the three countries – known collectively as E3 – on Iranian human rights violations and comes amid growing concern that Iranian security forces have decided to ” intensify the pressure on detained binationals, in particular by filing a second series. charges against Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the dual Anglo-Iranian national jailed in 2016. Revolutionary Guards visited her parents’ home this week, where she lives under house arrest, in what her family considered an attempt to intimidate him.
In Iran, there was an outcry over the execution of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari, who was accused of murdering a security guard during protests in 2018. His execution led to protests from members of Iranian civil society, who have warned that his death will not intimidate critics of the regime.
One of Iran’s most notorious political prisoners, Nasrin Sotoudeh, has been on hunger strike for more than 40 days and, according to her husband, was admitted to hospital due to her weakened state. She is a lawyer and has championed the right of women not to wear the hijab.
She said her strike was aimed at putting pressure on Iran to release political prisoners and draw attention to their condition during the coronavirus pandemic.
France is demanding the release of Fariba Adelkah, a well-known Franco-Iranian academic arrested in 2018. She has just been transferred from Evin prison to the detention center of the Ministry of Intelligence.
It appears that Baeidinejad has received a letter expressing Britain’s concerns over the serious human rights violations in Iran.
The letter claims that British citizens, including binationals, languish in Iranian prisons, often under difficult conditions and without justification. He argues that they were arbitrarily detained and that they deserve to be reunited with their families.
The letter also expresses concerns about Iran’s continued persecution of human rights defenders within its borders, as well as harassment of media and cultural organizations and their staff.
In a clear reference to the execution of Afkari, the three countries say that everyone should have the right and the freedom to protest and express their opinion. Iran’s response to the protesters has been systematically disproportionate and often fatal.
The letter goes on to say: “Free and independent media are essential to a functioning society. Cultural organizations, which connect people across borders, benefit all of our people.
The letter contains no explicit warning to Iran of the practical consequences if human rights violations continue, and E3’s continued joint support for the Iran nuclear deal signed in 2015 is not threatened. The United States has pulled out of the deal and now claims it has the right to impose UN sanctions, including an ongoing embargo on conventional arms sales, to Iran. E3 insists that the United States does not have such legal power.
However, it stands to reason that British political support for the nuclear deal is not helped by the damage Iran is inflicting on its own international reputation by imprisoning binationals and apparently using them as hostages to secure concessions. the West.
The Foreign Office is careful not to portray Zaghari-Ratcliffe as a hostage.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif withdrew from a planned visit to Europe last week. Iran’s foreign ministry said the coronavirus crisis, including quarantine issues, meant the trip had to be canceled. There are reports that the German Foreign Ministry canceled the visit due to Afkari’s execution, but this has not been confirmed.
Zarif claims he has no purchases on the release of prisoners, unless it is part of a larger negotiation on the exchange of prisoners.
A debate has recently started in Iran over whether political prisoners should be allowed to stand trial by jury in public courts. At present, they are tried as security threats primarily before a judge in the Revolutionary Courts, which were established after the 1979 revolution to try those suspected of certain crimes, including the attempted overthrow of the government and blasphemy.