BRUSSELS—A delegation of Iranian parliamentarians received a tough grilling Tuesday in the European Parliament in Brussels.
The delegation was led by Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the Chairman for the Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran, described by the Anti-Defamaion League, as ” a senior member of the regime which supports Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists, threatens to destroy Israel, is a state-sponsor of anti-Semitism, and is currently violently repressing its own citizens.’’
Invited to a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the parliament, known in EU jargon as AFET, for an “exchange of views’’, the delegation was welcomed with unusual harsh criticism from the committee chairman, German Christian-Democrat MEP David McAllister.
He challenged Iran’s human rights violations and demanded answers about last week’s police raids in Germany on suspected Iranian agents believed to have targeted Israeli and Jewish sites.
“I’m from Germany,” Mr. McAllister opened his remarks, turning to the Iranian MPs. “The media reported that the suspects are accused of spying on possible Israeli and/or Jewish terror attack targets, including Jewish kindergartens. This would be highly disturbing,” he said.
Several other MEPs also harshly criticized the Iranian regime, in particular on its threats to Israel, support for terrorism, and Holocaust denial.
Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the American Jewish Committee’s EU office, praised McAllister ‘’for conveying the crucial message to Tehran that the EU will not tolerate the regime’s nefarious and criminal behavior.’’
“All too often, EU leaders fail to do just that – to publicly confront Iran. Predictably, this has only served to embolden Iran’s aggression,” he said.
Boroujerdi repeatedly failed to answer to the alleged Iranian terror plots in Germany and Holocaust denial charges. He did though openly tell the European Parliament – if it needed any reminding – that “we (Iran) do not accept the Zionist regime.”
The Anti-Defamation League CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, wrote a letter to the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, saying that the invitation to Boroujerdi to speak in Brussels was ‘’troubling, given his history of promoting terrorism and past participation in a conference in Tehran in 2014 promoting Holocaust deniers.’’
‘’While the European Commission has legitimate reasons to be an interlocutor with the Iranian regime, the Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs decision to invite Mr. Boroujerdi for “an exchange of views” legitimizes him as someone whose views are worthy of consideration,’’ Greenblatt said.
‘’The European Parliament has taken many positive steps to address anti-Semitism, but Mr. Boroujerdi’s appearance will be a step backwards. Just one day before you commemorate the victims of the Holocaust at the parliament, your institution will host a man who participated in a conference in Tehran in 2014 to promote Holocaust deniers.’’
The ADL noted that on the agenda of the Committee on Foreign Affairs was a discussion about “targeting the financing of terrorism” right before the “exchange of views” with Boroujerdi, ‘’the same man who a year ago paid respects at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah’s former leader of global terror operations.’’
” Mughniyeh was implicated in the 1983 bombing of the US embassy in Beirut, the bombings in Buenos Aires of the Israeli embassy in 1992 and the AMIA Jewish community center in 1994, and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia.’’
Greenblatt concluded his letter by recalling that in July 2017 the European Parliament president said the European Parliament “must not become a platform for terrorism, nor should the agenda or guests put the reputation of this institution at risk,” in a reference to the controversial invitation made by MEPs to Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled to speak at a conference in the parliament.