Iranian Minorities and Oppositions Discuss the Future of Iran at European Parliament

On 11 January 2018, the conference titled “Vision for Democratic Solution to the Crisis in the Middle East and Iran”was organised by the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) political group and the Kurdish Institute of Brussels took place at the European Parliament in Brussels. The conference took place in three languages: English, Farsi and Kurdish.

The conference was held in two panels and opened by MEP Martina Michels (GUE/NGL). In her speech, Ms Michels criticised the European position toward Iran and was especially critical of the German position in regards to the ongoing human right violations. After that Mr Kenneth R. Timmerman, from the National Security and Foreign Policy Advisory Board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, took the floor and spoke on Iran’s negative influence in the region and its overall instability. In his speech, he emphasised the importance of stimulating active participation from all ethnicities within Iran in order to secure a functional democracy.

In the first panel on the history of co-existence in Iran and the Middle East,representatives of different nations of Iran spoke. Mona Silavi from the Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz spoke on the relation between national oppression and deliberate environmental destruction as a means to remove Arabs from their lands. Professor Abbas Wali spoke next, focusing on the future of Iran and the need to remove the concept of official language, religion or ideology and identity in a future constitution of Iran

Mr Farhad Besharat followed, speaking about the political and social situation of Turks in Iran. The next speaker, Mr. Nasser Boladai, UNPO President and representative of the People’s Party of Balochistan told the audience about the Baloch people in Iran and the overall need for respect of diversity within the country. He went on to highlight the lack of media coverage regarding human rights violations perpetrated against detainees coming from national minorities.

Finally, Dr Jalal Sabzvari, professor of Persian literature, spoke to advocate his belief regarding the preservation of Persian as the national language of Iran. He explained that the languages of the plethora of other nations within Iran would, nevertheless, be maintained as secondary languages taught within educational institutions.

This point attracted strong opposition, and a closing remark by Ms Mona Silavi referred to the venue of the conference. The European Union and especially the European Parliament bring together 24 official languages, which remain equal in the political decision-making process with no supreme official language.

The second panel was entitled “Opportunities for democracy in a changing the Middle East and Iran”. Speakers discussed human rights, women’s rights and democratic solutions for the future of Iranian society.

The panel began with the words of Mr Siamand Moeini,  (Co-Chair of the Free Life Party of Kurdistan, PJAK), who spoke about democratic solutions for Iranian nations and about extending the same system of self-management applied in the north of Syria to the Kurdish areas of Iran.

Dr Jhalah Ahmadi focused his speech on women’s rights in Iran, while Dr Hassan Makaremi focused on human rights in the region. The last speaker, Mr Bahram Rahmani, also spoke about the current situation in Iran and asked for political sanctions to be enforced on Iran instead of economic ones. Mr Rahmani went on to explain that economic sanctions only cause suffering to the general population and not to the leaders or government.

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