Senior politicians question EU-Iran appeasement policy


For Immediate Release – Monday 14th December 2020

Senior politicians have launched a withering attack on the European External Action Service (EEAS), accusing them of endorsing ”a wretched act of appeasement” towards the Iranian regime, following news that the UN is seeking to hold the theocratic regime to account over the massacre of thousands of political prisoners in jails across Iran in the summer of 1988.

The International Committee ‘In Search of Justice’ (ISJ), a Brussels-based NGO that seeks to promote ​​human rights, freedom, democracy, peace and stability in Iran, has written to the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy – Dr. Josep Borrell, head of the EEAS – drawing his attention to a communication written by 7 expert UN Special Rapporteurs and addressed to the Iranian regime. The ISJ say that the UN letter is a searing indictment of the Iranian regime’s systematic and on-going cover-up of the enforced disappearance and execution of many thousands of political prisoners during the summer of 1988. The UN rapporteurs’ letter recounts in harrowing detail, case after case of individual political prisoners dragged from their cells and never seen again, with their families warned not to “make a noise” about their disappeared loved ones. The UN rapporteurs have demanded a full investigation into the massacre and warn the theocratic regime that the Islamic Republic of Iran could be held to account for crimes against humanity.

The ISJ have also drawn Josep Borrell’s attention to Amnesty International’s comments on the UN rapporteurs’ communication, which they describe as “a momentous breakthrough.” Amnesty’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Diana Eltahawy, stated that “The ongoing crimes of mass enforced disappearances resulting from the secret extrajudicial executions of 1988 can no longer go unaddressed and unpunished.”

Commenting from his home in Madrid, ISJ President Alejo Vidal Quadras said: “We have noted that the EU has recently adopted a new global human rights sanctions regime, where they say “The European Union will not stand by while serious human rights violations and abuses are committed.” We expect them now to make good this claim by standing shoulder to shoulder with the 7 UN expert rapporteurs in holding the Iranian regime to account for the 1988 massacre.

“We call on Josep Borrell, as the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy to take the lead in this matter. We unequivocally object to news that the EU is financing a major 3-day online conference with Iran, at which the regime’s foreign minister Javad Zarif will be a keynote speaker, together with Josep Borrell. We welcome the fact that the conference, which was due to start today, was postponed at the last minute after the theocratic regime hanged another former European resident at the weekend. We call on the EU to abandon this conference altogether, which we regard as a wretched act of appeasement by the EEAS to a murderous regime that is known as the world’s leading state-sponsor of terror. Indeed, one of Javad Zarif’s top diplomats from the Iranian embassy in Vienna is even now on trial in Belgium, after being caught re-handed in a plot to bomb a mass Iranian opposition rally near Paris. It is a disgrace that the EU continues to look for ways to throw an economic lifeline to this pariah regime.”


  1. Link to UN letter from 7-rapporteurs.

  • Link to Amnesty International comments on the UN letter.

  • Link to EU Business Forum conference with Iran.

  • Copy of the ISJ letter to Josep Borrell.
  • Signatories to the ISJ letter:


The International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) was initially formed in 2008 as an informal group of EU parliamentarians to seek justice for the Iranian democratic opposition. In 2014 it was registered as a non-profit NGO in Brussels expanding its membership beyond elected parliamentarians to former officials and other dignitaries with an interest to promote human rights, freedom, democracy, peace and stability.


ALEJO VIDAL-QUADRAS – President ISJ – Spanish professor of atomic and nuclear physics. Vice-president of the European Parliament from (1999-2014).

GIULIO TERZI – Chair ISJ Committee on the Protection of Human Rights & Justice in Iran. Minister Foreign Affairs Italy 2011-2013, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations in New York 2008-2009 and Ambassador of Italy to the United States 2009- 2011.

STRUAN STEVENSON – Chair ISJ Committee on the Protection of Political Freedoms in Iran. Member of the European Parliament representing Scotland 1999-2014. President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-14) and chairman of Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (2004-14).

PAULO CASACA – Member of the European Parliament (1999-2009) Chair of European Parliament’s delegation for relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Founder and executive director of the “South Asia Democratic Forum”; founder of the international co-operation association ARCHumankind, ‘Alliance to Renew Co-operation among Humankind’.