About 40 people demonstrated on Wednesday afternoon at the Schuman roundabout in Brussels against the visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the European capital on Thursday. Zari has been invited by the European Union (EU) to discussions with his French, German and British counterparts on the preservation of the Iranian nuclear deal. The demonstrators denounced a lack of firmness by the EU on Iran at a time when the country is experiencing a climate of tension and crackdowns on demonstrations.
Iran was hit from the 28th of December to the 1st of January by unrest during demonstrations against the high cost-of-living and the government in dozens of towns and cities. Officially, the unrest caused 21 deaths and many demonstrators were arrested. According to the Iranian authorities, most of them have since been released.
“We feel it’s shameful and inappropriate for the EU to enter into discussions with the Iranian regime in the present context,” said Souroush Abouthalebi, an activist and sympathizer of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
“Following the demonstrations, at least 4,000 persons were arrested in Iran and, according to Amnesty International, five have died from torture,” Abouthalebi said. “We are calling for a strong reaction from the European Union to these deaths and want its relations with the Iranian regime to be conditioned on respect for human rights in Iran and the freedoms of Iranians.”