Monday, 27 Jan 2020 - 1 of Shevat, 5780

New EU foreign affairs chief condemns Iran’s ‘disproportionate’ use of force against non-violent protestors

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‘’Over the past weeks, many people all across Iran have exercised their fundamental right to assemble and expressed their economic grievances. A growing body of evidence indicates that despite repeated calls for restraint, the Iranian security forces’ disproportionate response to recent demonstrations has led to high numbers of deaths and injuries,’’ Borrell wrote in a statement.

BRUSSELS—The new European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, has condemned Iran for its use of ‘’disproportionate’’ force during recent protests in the country.

‘’Over the past weeks, many people all across Iran have exercised their fundamental right to assemble and expressed their economic grievances. A growing body of evidence indicates that despite repeated calls for restraint, the Iranian security forces’ disproportionate response to recent demonstrations has led to high numbers of deaths and injuries,’’ Borrell wrote in a statement.

‘’For the European Union and its Member States, the widespread and disproportionate use of force against nonviolent protestors is unacceptable,’’ he added.

He said the EU urges the Iranian authorities ‘’to ensure transparent and credible investigations to clarify the number of deaths and arrested, and to provide due process to all detainees.’’

‘’We expect all perpetrators of violence to be held accountable, and in line with statements by senior Iranian officials, all non-violent protestors currently held under arrest should be immediately freed,’’ Borrell said.

The EU top diplomat also condemned Iran’s decision to shut down internet access to global networks for over a week. ‘’This is a clear violation of the freedom of speech. Fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and assembly must always be respected. The Iranian authorities must live up to their international obligations, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,’’ he said.

He said the EU ‘’will continue to address all issues of concern in its bilateral exchanges with Iran, including human rights.’’

Borrell, a former Spanish Foreign Minister and former President of the European Parliament, succeeded Federica Mogherini as High Representative of the Union for foreign affairs and security and European Commission Vice-President. On Monday, he chaired in Brussels his first Foreign Affairs Council, the gathering of all EU Foreign Ministers.

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