Charlie Weimers, a Swedish representative to the European Parliament who has taken a strong stand against the Islamic Republic and supported the protesters in Iran, gave the following interview to Kayhan Life last week.
In recent weeks, Mr. Weimers also reacted to the use of the Islamic Republic’s flag by the CNN network in its reporting on the execution of the wrestler Navid Afkari. He disapproved of the move, and posted a picture of the flag of pre-revolutionary Iran, featuring the lion and sun, which is recognized by the movements opposing the Islamic Republic.
“Noticed that CNN accompanied article about execution of Navid Afkari. the flag of the regime,” he tweeted. “We will continue the work to convince fellow EU lawmakers to pressure the mullahs. So that one day, we will see freedom-loving Iranians able to fly another flag on the streets of Tehran.”
Mr. Weimers, you have stood with the protestors in Iran. Your party, the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, launched a Resolution on December 17 asking for a condemnation of Iran’s violent crackdown against demonstrators during the November protests, and asking the Iranian government to ensure that all detainees have proper legal representation and that officials respect Iranians’ right to freedom of expression and assembly. The Resolution also called on the European Union to set up an independent inquiry into the protests. The bill was passed on December 19. Would you update us on its status?
The resolution, initiated by my political Group, expresses the position of the European Parliament and still stands. My colleagues and I continue to raise the various points reflected in the resolution in our relations with other EU institutions, member states and the Iranian regime.
These days in Iran, protesters who went to the streets in November 2019 and January 2018 and were arrested are facing long prison sentences and executions. Navid Afkari and Mohammad Salehi were two protesters who were executed in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s trip to five European countries was cancelled. What is the European Union’s position on the Islamic Republic?
The EU and Sweden’s position vis-à-vis Iran is deplorable and wholly inadequate. Consider the case of Navid Afkari. Did the EU try to stop his death? Why didn’t the EEAS confirm that it did? To condemn the execution after it has taken place is not enough. Will the EU call for independent investigation into his murder?
Do you think that for European governments, trade relations between EU countries and Iran take precedence over human rights and the severe repression of protesters?
Yes, absolutely – money talks. The Mullahs are reaping the benefits from trade with the EU and we cannot afford to enable them. They are a real menace to their own people and the current regime is a serious threat to the stability and prosperity of the Middle East.
If the EU were indeed as committed to human rights as it claims to be, it needs to consistently speak out against the Iranian regime’s violent repression against its own citizens. It is important for the EU to stand strongly on its own principles and stand with the Iranian people against the violence and hold the corrupt mullah regime accountable.
The EU’s anti-immigration policies have affected refugees. On the other hand, we see that the authorities of the Islamic Republic and other Islamists have easily penetrated the European countries and have been given business, residency, and citizenship. What is your opinion about this?
We should use the Magnitsky Act to stop the flourishing of Islamists and Iranian regime elites in Europe. Their principles and ideology are abhorrent. The EU also needs to investigate Shiite extremist mosques in Europe, as many of them are working in the interests of the Islamic Republic
You recently tweeted a picture of the Iranian [pre-revolutionary] national flag, writing that freedom-loving Iranians would one day be able to fly another flag in the streets of Tehran. In your opinion, has the Islamic Republic reached a precarious situation?
I strongly believe the regime’s days are numbered. Cracks are widening and we cannot ease pressure now. I believe that the Iranian regime is fully aware of their existential crisis as well. Otherwise they would not need to opt for such repressive and violent tactics against dissidents in and outside Iran.
In your assessment, what are the prospects for the European Union standing with the people of Iran rather than with the regime in Tehran?
As long as member states continue their naïve view of the current Iranian regime I do not have high hopes. How can one expect the EU to stand with the Iranian people if the EU continues to believe in the false distinction between Hezbollah’s so-called ‘political’ and ‘military’ wings?
Once the EU accepts the Iranian regime’s true nature and the threat of Islamism, we can expect it to side with the Iranian people over the current Iranian regime.