West Midlands Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre spoke today in the European Parliament at the Friends of a Free Iran (FoFI) meeting on 'Human Rights in Iran', which was also attended by Maryam Rajavi, President elect of National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

"I am speaking as a woman, a free woman, a woman who can choose what to wear, choose where to walk, choose who to marry and can make my political views heard," she began.

"I believe human rights and women rights should be the main benchmark for Europe when deciding on its policy vis-à-vis the Iranian regime.

"Under Rouhani 63 women have been executed. This is much higher than the number of executions under Ahmadinejad. Arbitrary arrests for political reasons have dramatically risen.

"In short, the human rights situation has evidently not improved but has tremendously deteriorated and certainly does not meet our standards in Europe. So, how is this going to affect our relationship with Iran and how is this going to guide us towards our foreign policy on Iran?

"In my view, we can only judge the state of human rights in Iran by what we see; not by the words of the regime but by their action. No change, whether small or significant, should be trusted as long as these executions are going on in Iran. Women and youth are suppressed and national and religious minorities are terrorized. Anybody who does not comply with the mullahs and the Supreme religious leader also lack freedom of speech and other freedoms in Iran."

She continued: "Let’s not forget that this is religious theocracy and the Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, knows very well that any real reforms or any lifting of restrictions against women will cause a crack and their whole system will collapse. So the mullahs are prepared to make business deals but they are careful not to open up freedom in domestic life.

"At the same time, the Iranian regime desperately needs the West to survive. We should use this tool, not follow a one-way appeasement policy and only talk about business. We should openly oppose any diplomatic and trade relations with Iran until these executions end and people are given more freedom in every aspect of their lives."

Turning to Maryam Rajavi, she finished by saying: "This is what Mrs. Rajavi said on the first day that Rouhani came to power. Europe should listen to these remarks and put them in action. We stand behind Mrs Rajavi as she has been an inspiration to the Iranian people who want democracy.

"I have enormous respect for Maryam Rajavi and her supporters. Maryam, you are a very brave lady. We salute you, and we support you."