The European Parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a report on Iran that condemned the Islamic Republic’s Holocaust denial, violent rhetoric towards Israel, and support for terrorism.
One amendment to the report, which stated that the legislative body “strongly condemns the Iranian regime’s repeated calls for the destruction of Israel and the regime’s policy of denying the Holocaust,” passed by a vote of 590-67 with 36 abstentions.
An earlier version of the report, entitled “EU Strategy towards Iran after the nuclear agreement,” was criticized for failing to call out Iran’s human rights violations, its abetting of the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, and its support for terrorism. After negotiations between different parties, new amendments to the report were passed that addressed those issues. The full report, which maps out how the EU will normalize relations with Iran, passed by a vote of 456-17.
The specific amendment about Iran’s Holocaust denial and threats to Israel was praised by a number of prominent Jewish activists.
“We welcome this amendment, as it is essential to couple Iran’s extremism, Holocaust denial and call for genocide with its nuclear program and relations with the international community,” said Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress. “It is vital that Iran is pressured to improve its human rights record and belligerency towards Israel and the region before the European Union resets its relations with the Islamic Republic.”
Jonathan Arkush, the president of the British Board of Deputies, noted in a statement that“Iran is a serial human rights abuser on a scale that is glaring and brazen. The strengthening of the European Parliament’s resolution was both necessary and welcome. What is also needed is a strengthening of sanctions to bring home to the pariah state of Iran that its abhorrent behavior will come at a heavy price.”
“By clearly denouncing Tehran’s antisemitic policies and threats against Israel, the European Parliament has corrected, with a wide majority, one of the report’s most glaring shortcomings. We salute Parliament’s principled stand on this critical issue,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute, the American Jewish Committee’s European Union affairs office. “Unfortunately, another crucial amendment calling for the immediate release of all political prisoners and an end to systematic torture and other improvements to the text were rejected.”
Germany, one of the most powerful countries in the Union, has been explicit in its insistence that Iran recognize Israel before Berlin normalizes relations with Tehran. It is unclear how the European Parliament’s new directive will affect that stance.
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