Emanuele Ottolenghi reports:
Saeed Jalili, the Secretary General of the Supreme National Security Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran, visited Brussels last week, to engage in dialogue with European counterparts. Little did he know that Members of the European Parliament would be particularly keen to have a candid exchange of views on the way Iran customarily hangs people from cranes in the public square. Though he did not answer, Jalili must have taken the outrage to heart, because barely a week later, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, the head of Iran’s judiciary, has banned all public executions unless he personally authorizes them. He has also banned photographs and films of the executions, though not the executions themselves. This is a far cry from abiding by the moratorium on public executions called for by the UN on December 18 of last year. It is just a way to avoid embarrassment of the kind suffered by Jalili last week.
Since the UN moratorium, Iran has carried out 62 executions in 40 days, many of them in public, including two minors, two women and two political prisoners. More will no doubt be soon scheduled, though far from the public eye. Far from the eye, far from the heart, as they say—and the international outrage that so impedes Iran’s dialogue with Europe.
Out of sight, out of mind, eh?
This week, Iran executed “Zamel Bawi, a son of moderate Ahwazi Arab tribal leader Hajj Salem Bawi”
The execution was condemned, overwhelmingly, by all mainstream parties in the European Parliament:
The resolution was adopted with 559 MEPs voting in favour, 52 against and 44 abstaining.
Of the MEPs present at the vote, 96% of the centre-right European Peoples Party MEPs, 97% of the Socialist MEPs and 100% of the Liberal MEPs voted in favour of the resolution. As such, the three main political groupings were near-unanimous in their condemnation of the execution of Zamel Bawi.
So, who voted against the motion?
Just over half those voted against belonged to the Communist group and a quarter were Greens, including the UK’s two Green MEPs who had previously described the execution campaign against Ahwazi Arabs as “ethnic cleansing”