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Press release – Brussels – 19 June 2018

Belgium: 140 parliamentarians support #IranProtests for a democratic change


I am happy to announce the joint statement by 140 parliamentarians in Belgium in support of the
current protests, strikes and uprising for a democratic change in Iran. The signatories are from
major political parties from the Federal parliament, regional parliaments, European Parliament
and the senate.
The uprising which began on 28 December and continued for several weeks, shook Iran. The
nationwide protests covered all 31 provinces of Iran and over 142 cities.
The parliamentarians stated: “The people of Iran, especially the younger generation, have made
it clear that they are fed up with Islamic fundamentalist rule and want a regime change. Many
chanted ‘down with the dictator,’ ‘down with Khamenei’ and ‘down with Rouhani.’ Women
played an active role in the protests.”
Many protesters have already died in custody under torture. The top leaders of the regime have
confessed to the role of the main opposition, PMOI (MEK) in leading the protests.
In May, anti-government protests in city of Kazerun were brutally repressed by the regime,
leaving at least 4 dead and hundreds wounded, with many arrests.
In recent weeks Truck drivers have been on an unprecedented nationwide strike all over Iran.
Last week the regime raided the homes of Steel workers in city of Ahvaz who have been
protesting for unpaid wages. Workers and teachers’ protests have been going on in many Iranian
cities in recent weeks.
“We condemn the use of force against the defenceless protesters and call on the EU and
European governments to adopt effective measures and binding decisions to compel the regime
to release the prisoners of the uprising, uphold freedom of expression and association, end
repression against women and especially annul the compulsory ‘Hijab’ for women,” Belgian
lawmakers stated.
The nationwide protests and strikes is a sign of lack of basic freedoms and violations of human
rights. The people of Iran expect Europe to be on their side and not just focus on trade and
business with Iran. As elected politicians of the people of Belgium, we believe the Iranian
people’s calls for democracy should be taken seriously.
“Human rights and women’s rights in Iran cannot be compromised or marginalized on the
pretext of political considerations, trade or the nuclear deal. Any expansion of political and
economic relations with Iran must be conditional upon a clear progress on human rights,
women’s rights and a halt to executions,” the parliamentarians demanded.
Dirk Claes, Mayor of Rotselaar, President of Belgian Committee of Parliamentarians and
Mayors for a Democratic Iran
Contact: Dirk Claes, Burgemeester Rotselaar, Provinciebaan 20, 3110 Rotselaar Tel: 016 61 63 11 Email: info@dirkclaes.be
Support Iranian People’s Demands for Democratic Change
June 2018
We are deeply concerned about the suppression of the nationwide uprisings in Iran at the beginning of
this year. The backlash by the “Islamic Republic” has been violent. Dozens were killed on the streets and
at least 14 have died under torture. Amnesty International has called for an investigation into the deaths
in custody. The head of Iran’s prisons organization confirmed the arrest of 5,000 protesters.
The human rights situation has deteriorated in the wake of the recent protests. Iran continues to carry
out the highest number of executions per capita globally. According to Amnesty International Global
Report, more than half of all recorded executions in 2017 were carried out in Iran.
The people of Iran, especially the younger generation, have made it clear that they are fed up with
Islamic fundamentalist rule and want democratic change. Many chanted “down with the dictator,”
“down with Khamenei” and “down with Rouhani.” Women played an active role in the protests.
According to the French news agency on 2 January, Iranian President Rouhani called President Macron
and asked him to take action against the Paris-based Iranian opposition, which he accused of fomenting
the recent protests. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, also said that the PMOI had organized
the uprising, and implicitly threatened to execute the protesters. A judiciary official has publicly called
for the execution of demonstrators for ‘waging war against God.’
We condemn the use of force against the defenceless protesters and call on Belgium and EU
governments to adopt effective measures and binding decisions to compel the regime to release the
prisoners of the uprising, uphold freedom of expression and association, end repression against women
and especially annul the compulsory ‘Hijab’ for women.
We call on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to set up a fact-finding mission to
investigate the situation of Iran’s prisons and political prisoners, especially those arrested during the
uprising and those who died in detention.
Human rights and women’s rights in Iran cannot be compromised or marginalized on the pretext of
political considerations, trade or the nuclear deal. Any expansion of political and economic relations
with Iran must be conditional upon a clear progress on human rights, women’s rights and a halt to
executions.

Belgian Parliamentarians Signatories:


David CLARINVAL, Federal MP, MR

Els VAN HOOF, Federal MP, CD&V

Nele LIJNEN, Federal MP, Open VLD

An CAPOEN, Federal MP, N-VA

Fatma PEHLIVAN, Federal MP, Spa

Els AMPE, Brussels MP

André ANTOINE, President of Walloon Parliament, cdH

Josy ARENS, Wallon MP

Pascal ARIMONT, European MP

Pascal BAURAIN, Wallon MP


Sonja BECQ, Vice President of Federal Parliament

Françoise BERTIEAUX, Member of the Bureau of Brussels Parliament

Robrecht BOTHUYNE, Flemish MP

Eric BOTT, Brussels MP

Philippe BRACAVAL, Wallon MP

Laetitia BROGNIEZ, Wallon MP

Jacques BROTCHI, Member of the Bureau of Brussels Parliament

Karin BROUWERS, Flemish MP

Ann BRUSSEEL, Flemish MP

Gautier CALOMNE, Federal MP

Véronique CAPRASSE, Federal MP

Caroline CASSART-MAILLEUX, Federal MP

Vera CELIS, Flemish MP

Benoît CEREXHE, Brussels MP

Patricia CEYSENS, Federal MP

Lode CEYSSENS, Flemish MP

An CHRISTIAENS, Flemish MP

Sonja CLAES, Flemish MP

Bernard CLERFAYT, Vice President of Brussels Parliament

Michel COLSON, Brussels MP

Griet COPPE, Flemish MP

Paul CORDY, Flemish MP

Fabian CULOT, Wallon MP

Koen DANIËLS, Flemish MP

Sabine DE BETHUNE, Flemish MP

Emmanuel DE BOCK, Brussels MP

Julie DE GROOTE, Brussels MP

Dirk DE KORT, Flemish MP

Jos DE MEYER, Committee Chair, Flemish Parliament


Serge DE PATOUL, Brussels MP

Jenne DE POTTER, Flemish MP

Koenraad DEGROOTE, Federal MP

Mark DEMESMAEKER, European MP

Gérard DEPREZ, European MP

Roel DESEYN, Federal MP

Olivier DESTREBECQ, Member of the Bureau of Wallon Parliament

Leen DIERICK, Federal MP

Bart DOCHY, Flemish MP

Philippe DODRIMONT, Committee Chair, Walloon Parliament

Michel DOOMST, Flemish MP

Willem DRAPS, Vice President of Brussels Parliament

Benoit DRÈZE, Wallon MP

André DU BUS DE WARNAFFE, Member of the Bureau of Brussels Parliament

Ahmed EL KHANNOUSS, Brussels MP

Hamza FASSI-FIHRI, Brussels MP

Jean-Jacques FLAHAUX, Federal MP

Martine FOURNIER, Flemish MP

Dimitri FOURNY, Wallon MP

Cindy FRANSSEN, Flemish MP

Céline FREMAULT, Brussels Minister

Isabelle GALANT, Federal MP

Charles GARDIER, Wallon MP

Philippe GOFFIN, Committee Chair, Federal Parliament

Luc GUSTIN, Federal MP

Veerle HEEREN, Federal MP

Kathleen HELSEN, Committee Chair, Flemish Parliament

Marc HENDRICKX, Flemish MP

Vera JANS, Flemish MP


Ward KENNES, Committee Chair, Flemish Parliament

Pierre KOMPANY, Brussels MP

Sabien LAHAYE-BATTHEU, Federal MP

Nahima LANJRI, Committee Chair, Federal Parliament

Patrick LECERF, Wallon MP

Carine LECOMTE, Wallon MP

Marc LOEWENSTEIN, Brussels MP

Sander LOONES, European MP

Lyseline LOUVIGNY, Wallon MP

Lieve MAES, Flemish MP

Fabian MAINGAIN, Brussels MP

Joëlle MAISON, Brussels MP

Louis MICHEL, European MP

Richard MILLER, Federal MP

Joëlle MILQUET, Brussels MP

Isabelle MOINNET, Committee Chair, Walloon Parliament

Gilles MOUYARD, Committee Chair, Walloon Parliament

Nathalie MUYLLE, Federal MP

Bart NEVENS, Flemish MP

Marie-Françoise NICAISE, Wallon MP

Jean-Luc NIX, MP PFWB

Martine PAYFA, Member of the Bureau of Brussels Parliament

Caroline PERSOONS, Brussels MP

Peter PERSYN, Flemish MP

Ingrid PIRA, Flemish MP

Joris POSCHET, Flemish MP

Patricia POTIGNY, Wallon MP

Maxime PREVOT, Wallon MP

André-Pierre PUGET, Wallon MP


Grete REMEN, Flemish MP

Frédérique RIES, European MP

Claude ROLIN, European MP

Tinne ROMBOUTS, Committee Chair, Flemish Parliament

Véronique SALVI, Wallon MP

Françoise SCHEPMANS, Vice President of Federal Parliament

Katrien SCHRYVERS, Committee Chair, Flemish Parliament

Fatoumata SIDIBE, Brussels MP

Marie-Dominique SIMONET, Wallon MP

Griet SMAERS, Federal MP

Bart STAES, European MP

Helga STEVENS, European MP

Isabelle STOMMEN, Wallon MP

Valerie TAELDEMAN, Flemish MP

Raf TERWINGEN, Committee Chair, Federal Parliament

Damien THIÉRY, Federal MP

Nicolas TZANETATOS, Committee Chair, Walloon Parliament

Luk VAN BIESEN, Federal MP

Anneleen VAN BOSSUYT, European MP

Ludo VAN CAMPENHOUT, Flemish MP

Orry VAN DE WAUWER, Flemish MP

Jef VAN DEN BERGH, Federal MP

Elke VAN DEN BRANDT, Flemish MP

Tine VAN DER VLOET, Flemish MP

Jan VAN ESBROECK, Flemish MP

Gaëtan VAN GOIDSENHOVEN, Brussels MP

Dirk VAN MECHELEN, Federal MP

Karim VAN OVERMEIRE, Flemish MP

Vincent VAN PETEGHEM, Federal MP


Vincent VAN QUICKENBORNE, Committee Chair, Federal Parliament

Peter VAN ROMPUY, First Vice President of Flemish Parliament

Eric VAN ROMPUY, Committee Chair, Federal Parliament

Tim VANDENPUT, Federal MP

Mathilde VANDORPE, Wallon MP

Karl VANLOUWE, Flemish MP

Hilde VAUTMANS, European MP

Michaël VOSSAERT, Brussels MP

Valérie WARZÉE-CAVERENNE, Wallon MP

David WEYTSMAN, Brussels MP

Lieve WIERINCK, European MP

Peter WOUTERS, Flemish MP