BRUSSELS: Recalling the November 2016 and February 2019 Council conclusions, the European Union reconfirms its resolute commitment to human rights in its policy towards Iran. The European Union expresses its support for the fundamental aspiration of the people of Iran for a future where their universal human rights and fundamental freedoms are respected, protected and fulfilled. In this context, the European Union acknowledges the leading role of women and youth in calling for the defence of these norms and values. The European Union strongly condemns the widespread, brutal and disproportionate use of force by the Iranian authorities against peaceful protesters, including women and children, leading to the loss of hundreds of lives, in clear breach of the fundamental principles enshrined in international law. The right to peaceful assembly must be ensured. The European Union condemns restrictions on communications, including Internet shutdowns, and calls upon Iran to ensure the right to freedom of expression, including freedom to seek, receive and share information and ideas, online and offline. The European Union urges Iranian authorities to uphold their international obligations under international law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to both of which Iran is a party.
The European Union calls on the Iranian authorities to cease their widespread resort to arbitrary detentions as a means of silencing critical voices and release all those unjustly detained in relation to the exercise of their rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, including recently arrested protesters as well as children, journalists and human rights defenders. The European Union firmly condemns the widespread use of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees in Iranian prisons, reminds the Iranian authorities that the prohibition of torture is absolute under international law and reiterates its call on Iran to ratify without delay the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The European Union strongly urges Iran to implement the relevant international treaties and agreements to which it is a party and calls upon Iran to eliminate, in law and in practice, all forms of systemic discrimination against women and girls in public and private life and to take gender-responsive measures to prevent and ensure protection for women and girls against sexual and gender-based violence in all its forms. At the same time, the European Union reiterates its firm call on the Iranian authorities to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all Iranians, including persons belonging to ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.
The European Union calls on the Iranian authorities to immediately end the strongly condemnable practice of imposing and carrying out death sentences against protesters as well as to annul without delay the recent death penalty sentences that were already pronounced in the context of the ongoing protests and to provide due process to all detainees. The European Union strongly opposes the use of the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances, as an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity. The European Union urges Iran to pursue a consistent policy towards the abolition of capital punishment.
The persistent impunity for grave human rights violations in Iran is contributing to the increasing grievances of the population. The European Union will continue to demand that the perpetrators of violence and human rights violations be held accountable and to call on the Iranian authorities to allow for an independent investigation into the widely reported and documented human rights violations, and ensure accountability for perpetrators as also called upon by UNGA 3rd Committee Resolution of November 2022. As a first step, we call on Iran to allow free, full and unhindered access to the country for relevant UN Human Rights Special Procedures mandate holders and to fully cooperate with the independent international Fact-Finding Mission established by the Human Rights Council on 24 November 2022. The European Union will continue to use all available avenues to hold the Iranian authorities to account.
The European Union strongly rejects Iran’s practice of arbitrary detention of foreign citizens, including dual nationals, and calls upon Iran to end the distressing practice of detaining innocent foreign civilians with a view to making political gains. The European Union reminds Iran of its international obligations under the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations and urges the Iranian authorities to abide by these obligations.
The European Union will continue to address any issue of concern, including in relation to the way the Iranian authorities are handling the ongoing protest, taking into account all options at its disposal, inclusive of additional restrictive measures.
The European Union strongly condemns and considers unacceptable any type of Iran’s military support, including deliveries of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs – “drones”), to Russia’s illegal, unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine, which grossly violates international law and the principles of the UN Charter. These weapons provided by Iran are being used indiscriminately by Russia against Ukrainian civilian population and infrastructure causing horrendous destruction and human suffering. In this context, the European Union recalls that any transfer of certain combat drones and missiles to or from Iran without prior permission by the UN Security Council are in violation of UNSCR 2231. The European Union continues to support the ongoing work by the UN Secretariat team responsible for monitoring the implementation of UNSCR 2231. The European Union notes with great concern the reports of Iranian weapons, including drones, being manufactured with components of international origin, including from Europe, and is considering the appropriate measures to take. The European Union strongly cautions Iran against any new deliveries of weapons to Russia, in particular any steps towards possible transfers of short-range ballistic missiles to Russia, which would constitute a serious escalation. The European Union will continue to respond to all actions supporting the Russian aggression against Ukraine and hold Iran accountable including through additional restrictive measures.
The European Union reiterates its clear determination that Iran must never develop or acquire a nuclear weapon, and recalls Iran’s commitments in that respect and its international obligations.
The European Union is deeply concerned by the successive IAEA reports documenting the alarming acceleration of Iran’s nuclear programme that gravely departs from its Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) commitments, in particular with regard to the expansion of its nuclear enrichment capacity and production of highly enriched uranium. Iran’s actions, which have no credible civilian justification, carry very significant proliferation-related risks. The European Union strongly urges Iran to reverse its alarming nuclear trajectory, to return to its political commitments in the field of nuclear non-proliferation without further delay, and to resume all JCPoA-related monitoring and verification measures, including its Additional Protocol.
Concerning outstanding safeguards issues, the European Union recalls the resolutions adopted by the IAEA Board of Governors on 8 June and 17 November 2022 and calls upon Iran to urgently fulfil its legal obligations, including under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), by providing technically credible explanations and grant necessary access. Timely and full cooperation with the IAEA remains absolutely crucial. Furthermore, the European Union underscores that the JCPoA is separate from Iran’s legally binding obligations under the NPT, which are essential to the global non-proliferation regime.
The European Union reaffirms its commitment to, and continued support for, the full and effective implementation of a restored JCPoA. However, the risk of a nuclear non-proliferation crisis in the region has increased as a result of Iran’s nuclear trajectory. In this context, the European Union regrets that, despite political support by the EU member States and intense international diplomatic efforts to restore the full implementation of the JCPoA including negotiations in Vienna facilitated by the EU High Representative as Coordinator of the JCPoA Joint Commission, Iran has not made the necessary decisions and not taken the necessary steps, continues to escalate its nuclear programme and makes it increasingly difficult to reach a deal. As a key security priority the EU will continue to invest diplomatically and politically to ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon. The EU calls on all countries to support the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015).
Promoting peace and stability and achieving de-escalation of tensions in the wider Gulf region as well as in the broader Middle East are key priorities for the EU. The JCPoA aims to contribute in this regard. Ensuring an exclusively peaceful character of the Iranian nuclear programme could contribute to regional stability and security. Efforts to build confidence should be inclusive. While they should be region-led, the EU remains ready to engage with all actors in the region in a gradual and inclusive approach, in full transparency and with the ultimate objective to facilitate a dialogue process that can help to develop confidence-building measures and arrangements, which provide for greater security in the wider Gulf region, including maritime safety and security. The regional Baghdad Conference on Cooperation and Partnership, and its follow-up process with EU involvement, could serve as a useful example for region-led processes.
While Iran is central to security in the region, the European Union condemns Iran’s continued destabilising activities in and around the Middle East. These include Iran’s activities with ballistic and cruise missiles, UAVs, and transfers of such advanced weaponry to state and non-state actors. UNSC Resolution 2231 (2015) calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic technology. Such activity, including using space launch vehicles, could pave the way for the development of long-range or intercontinental ballistic missiles. All these actions constitute an important and increasing source of regional instability and risk further escalating already existing high tensions. The EU urges Iran to fully abide by UNSCR 2231 (2015).
The European Union urges Iran to cease these destabilising activities in the form of political, military or financial support, including to non-state actors, in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. It calls upon Iran to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbours and to fully abide by all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs), including UNSCR 661, 1483, 1540, 1546, 1701, 2216 and 2231.
The European Union urges Iran to stop all actions or attempts that disrupt or threaten the safety and freedom of navigation in and around maritime routes in the wider Gulf region and respect applicable international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The European Union calls upon Iran to abide by its international obligations. Against the background of the grave actions by Iran on a wide range of issues as expressed above, the European Union reaffirms its commitment to a comprehensive policy approach considering all options at its disposal: critical where necessary, and ready to engage, on the basis of mutual respect, where interests align.