In an article published by the French daily Le Monde on June 19, France’s Foreign Minister Alain Juppe wrote that Paris has not forgotten about the Iranian people and their two-year-long protest movement.
“Two years ago, in an unprecedented protest movement, millions of Iranians expressed, with courage and hope, aspirations very similar to those everyone is watching with admiration develop in the Arab world today,” he said.
“Since then, unfortunately, Iran has set out along a [path of] repression and authoritarianism, self-absorption and isolation – in other words, the path rejected by all young people in the region.” “For two years, the human rights situation has been constantly worsening, as shown by the growing number of reports reaching us of
large-scale arrests, maltreatment and torture undergone by detainees, arbitrary sentences and the increasing number of death penalties, now more than 300 in total since the beginning of the year.”
He referred to the arrest of journalists and the conviction of figures like “the film-maker Jafar Panahi, sentenced to six years’ jail and a 20-year ban on his creative activities, and the lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is serving an 11-year prison term.”
“Let us not forget Iran, where the Iranian authorities are denying their people the right to demonstrate peacefully.” He said even the regime’s former authorities like “Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi – one a former prime minister, the other a former chairman of parliament – are being held in isolation, in contempt of the law.”
“In accordance with her values, France cannot remain silent in the face of such a deterioration in the situation of fundamental rights.
In Iran as elsewhere, there must be no compromise on the principle of individual freedoms: of opinion,expression and peaceful demonstration; there must be no compromise on respect for the dignity
due to every human being. These universal values – upheld so bravely by the people of the region, including Iran – are shared by France,” Mr. Juppe wrote.
“It was in this spirit that France, with her European partners, adopted sanctions against 32 leaders of the crackdown in Iran.”
“The denial of the Iranian people’s aspirations, and the pursuit of a nuclear programme with no credible civilian purpose and in violation of international law, are leading Iran to become a pariah in the
community of nations.”
He added, “The Iranian government could forge a relationship of friendship and cooperation with France. That, however, means making the choice of opening up and not closing in on itself.”
Juppe concluded, “So, at a time when the young people of the Arab world are finally regaining their freedom, I want to say, on this anniversary date, that we have not forgotten the Iranian people and that our thoughts go out to them, too, and particularly the young people among them, who also have the right to a future of freedom.”