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Situation in Iran

Resolution 1678 (2009)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 25 June 2009 (24th Sitting) (see Doc. 11968, report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Lindblad). Text adopted by the Assembly on 25 June 2009 (24th Sitting).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly is deeply concerned about the situation in Iran following the announcement of the results of the presidential election held on 12 June 2009, according to which the incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won 66% of the votes cast.
2. Numerous alleged irregularities during the vote, evoked by the three defeated presidential candidates, as well as 646 complaints of misconduct lodged with the Council of Guardians, raise justified concerns as regards the fairness of the electoral process as established by Iranian law. In particular, reported cases of opposition monitors being refused access to polling stations and a large number of mobile ballot boxes not subject to verification by monitors are in clear contradiction with basic electoral standards.
3. Non-violent protests and massive peaceful demonstrations in favour of the main opposition candidate, Hossein Mousavi, which have been taking place in Iran since 13 June 2009, constitute a legitimate political action inscribed in the democratic principle of freedom of expression. Use of violence against peaceful demonstrators is a serious infringement of human rights and the basic principles of democracy.
4. The Assembly deplores the recent actions of the state police and the Basij militia, which resulted in the death of at least 18 people, according to the official sources, and many more according to independent sources, as well as numerous other casualties.
5. Similarly, the Assembly regrets the excessive use of force and brutality by the police, as well as the fact that over 400 demonstrators have been placed in detention.
6. Moreover, the official statements made, and repressive measures taken, by the Iranian authorities in reaction to the massive demonstrations give rise to utmost concern about future possible developments. In particular, the detention of a number of politicians, their families and journalists, including five members of the family of Hashemi Rafsanjani and Ebrahim Yazdi, a former foreign minister and a leader of the Freedom Movement of Iran, the closure of the opposition newspapers, the blockage of websites and mobile phone services and the restrictions imposed on domestic and foreign journalists, illustrate the government’s intention to suppress the opposition and to avoid any form of political dialogue as it has succeeded in doing for thirty years now.
7. The Council of Europe and its Assembly, as a leading European parliamentary organisation standing for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, cannot remain silent in the face of such lack of respect for universal values and of the serious threat of further violence, potentially leading to dramatic consequences.
8. The situation in Iran has been a matter of concern for the Assembly for a long time, in particular the nuclear issue, which has been the subject of several debates and resulted in Resolutions 1436 (2005) and 1567 (2007) on Iran’s nuclear programme: the need for an international response. Another report is under preparation in the Political Affairs Committee.
9. Furthermore, Iran’s destabilising role in the region, including its support for terrorist activities, provocative statements on and refusal to recognise Israel and the denial of the Holocaust, has been condemned on the occasion of numerous debates on the situation in the Middle East.
10. The Assembly firmly believes that the only way to find a peaceful and sustainable solution to the present situation in Iran, as well as stability and peace in the region, is through democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.
11. The Assembly notes that the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States and his statements demonstrating his readiness to launch an enhanced dialogue with the Iranian authorities have opened up a new window of opportunity for confidence building and for enabling the Iranian people to take the place they deserve in the international community.
12. The Assembly recalls the deep concern over violence against demonstrators and the post-election crisis in Iran expressed by the Presidency of the European Union and by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, in their respective declarations.
13. The Assembly expresses the very firm hope that Europe will play its full part in resolving this crisis, which is of direct concern to it, in line with the position adopted by the Council of the European Union on 18 and 19 June 2009 strongly condemning the use of violence and stressing the urgent need for Iran to engage in dialogue with the international community on all matters of concern.
14. The Assembly stands ready to contribute to efforts aimed at building confidence and promoting democratic values by engaging in a dialogue with the Iranian Parliament and the democratic forces in Iran, as well as with Iranian civil society.
15. The Assembly urges the Iranian authorities to:
15.1 refrain from using force and violence against peaceful demonstrators;
15.2 15.2.release the more than 400 people detained during the peaceful demonstrations of the last few days;
15.3 release the more than 170 politicians and their families, and the journalists detained following the demonstrations;
15.4 lift the restrictive measures imposed on freedom of expression and, in particular;
15.4.1 stop closing opposition media;
15.4.2 stop disrupting Internet and mobile services;
15.4.3 stop sanctioning and expelling foreign journalists and allow them, as well as domestic journalists, to report freely on the situation;
15.5 allow an independent and credible investigation into the alleged irregularities in the election process;
15.6 initiate a meaningful dialogue in the internal political process;
15.7 respond in a positive way to the new approach of the United States administration and establish a dialogue with the international community with a view to mutual confidence building.
16. The Assembly calls on all sides of Iranian politics to refrain from any form of violence to achieve political goals and to favour dialogue.
17. The Assembly calls on Council of Europe member and observer states to:
17.1 intensify contacts with the Iranian authorities with a view to conveying the concerns of the international community;
17.2 17.2.establish an enhanced political dialogue.
18. The Assembly calls on the Iranian Parliament to contribute to regional stability and to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the international community.
19. The Assembly resolves to:
19.1 step up its contacts with the Iranian Parliament and the democratic forces in Iran as well as Iranian civil society;
19.2 follow closely how the situation in Iran develops.