EU Parliament cancels Iran visit, criticized for not including meeting with human rights winners

( A European Parliament (EP) trip to Iran, which was criticized by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) for going forward despite Iran's refusal to allow the delegation to meet with two human rights prizewinners, has been canceled.

Click photos to download. Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought along with Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. However, Iran has refused to allow an EU delegation to meet with the men. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

In 2012, Iranian Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and filmmaker Jafar Panahi were awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. At that time, a planned EP delegation visit to Iran was canceled because the Iranian government refused to let the delegation meet with the two winners and give them their prize. This time around, the EP had dropped the requirement to meet with the two winners, allowing the visit to take place without the meeting, before the eventual cancelation.

“The simple fact is this trip should never have been considered in the first place,” Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute, said in a statement. “The mere suggestion of a desire to visit Iran only emboldens its repressive leadership and weakens those struggling for freedom. That is counter to the mission and values of the European Parliament.”

By removing the requirement to meet with the winners, the EP was “completely undermining the powerful human rights message that the award sent to Iran’s oppressive, internationally isolated leadership,” Schwammenthal previously said.

Posted on April 25, 2013 .