French parliament vote condemns crackdown on Iranian protests, backs women’s rights

The French National Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution on Monday offering “support for the Iranian people” and condemning, in particular, the restriction of women’s freedoms and rights.

This comes ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers to discuss new sanctions over Iran’s brutal crackdown on protesters.

President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party deputy Hadrien Ghomi, himself a descendant of Iranian migrants, said the 149 votes in favour of the motion in the National Assembly “sent a strong message” to the world.

The resolution voted late Monday and welcomed by all political groups, condemns in the “strongest terms the brutal and widespread repression” against “non-violent demonstrators”.

It denounces the “use of torture” and affirms its “support for the Iranian people in their aspirations for democracy and respect for their fundamental rights and freedoms”.

In addition, the text calls for the immediate release of seven French nationals arbitrarily detained in Iran.

‘Women, life, freedom’

Iran has had more than two months of violent protests, sparked on 16 September by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd arrested for an alleged breach of the Islamic Republic’s strict dress rules for women.

The authorities have denounced the protests as “riots” encouraged by the West.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna  said that the situation “requires action, with responsibility”, adding that after two packages of sanctions already imposed at a European level, new sanctions are being prepared for the next Council of Foreign Ministers on 12 December.

Meanwhile, a Revolutionary Guards general in Iran said Tuesday that more than 300 people have been killed in Iran in the protests.

“Everyone in the country has been affected by the death of this lady [Amini]. I don’t have the latest figures, but I think we have had perhaps more than 300 martyrs and people killed in this country, including children, since this incident,” Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Guards’ aerospace division, said in a video published by the Mehr news agency.

The toll includes dozens of police, troops and militia killed in clashes with demonstrators.

The latest official toll is much closer to the figure of at least 416 “killed in the suppression of protests in Iran” according to estimates of the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights.

The group says the toll includes those killed in violence related to the Amini protests and in distinct unrest in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan.

Prisoners released

In a further development, Iran has released more than 700 prisoners some of whom “were arrested during the recent events,” according to the Mizan Online website of the judiciary on Monday, making indirect reference to demonstrations.

The decision came after the national team’s 2-0 victory over Wales in the World Cup football in Qatar last Friday. 

An Iran fan is holds a t-shit in memory of Mahsa Amini, inside the stadium before the match against Wales at the World Cup football in Qatar, 25 November, 2022. REUTERS – DYLAN MARTINEZ

Other Iranian media separately reported that prominent Iranian actor Hengameh Ghaziani had been released on bail after her arrest for having supported the protests.

Two of the most prominent figures detained over the demonstrations – former international footballer Voria Ghafouri and dissident Hossein Ronaghi – were also let out on bail, reports said.

State news agency IRNA reported on Monday that former state television host Mahmoud Shahriari, 63, had been released after two months in prison for “encouraging riots”.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk last week said around 14,000 people have been arrested in Iran.

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