Iranian and European opponents of Iranian policies yesterday chose to organise demonstrations in six western countries; Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Belgium and Canada in response to the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Paris yesterday at the beginning of his tour of Europe which is considered the first since the nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers.
The organisers said that the demonstrations aim to remind European countries of the deterioration of the human rights situation in Iran and the continued arrest and prosecution of political activists. The protesters carried pictures of prisoners of conscience, political prisoners and defenders of human rights who are held in Iranian jails and demanded that human rights feature on the agenda of agreements signed by European countries and the Iranian regime in order to put pressure on Rouhani’s government to stop executions and release political prisoners.
Official French sources indicated that President Francois Hollande “will not hesitate” to meet with Rouhani and will raise the issue of human rights during their meeting. However, Paris prefers that this is done in private and away from the media so that the intervention is “effective”.
The former French Minister for Human Rights Rama Yade attacked the Rouhani government’s record of human rights violations and the fact that more than one thousand executions took place in Iran in 2015 and there were 75 cases where Iranian women were executed in recent years. She made her comments whilst participating at a demonstration yesterday.