In a rare hearing, European Union lawmakers directly challenged visiting Iranian lawmakers during a special meeting in the European Parliament on Tuesday.
The Iranian delegation to the EU Parliament—which is led by Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman for the Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran—was grilled by EU lawmakers on Iran’s human rights violations and Holocaust denial as well as questions about recent police raids in Germany on suspected Iranian agents targeting Israeli and Jewish sites.
“I’m from Germany,” said David McAllister, Chair of the EU Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. “The media reported that the suspects are accused of spying on possible Israeli and/or Jewish terror attack targets, including Jewish kindergartens. This would be highly disturbing.”
According to reports, Boroujerdi failed to answer questions on the alleged terror plots and Holocaust denial, telling the EU lawmakers that “we (Iran) do not accept the Zionist regime.”
Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Transatlantic Institute, praised the tough questioning by EU lawmakers.
“Mr. McAllister and several of his colleagues who also harshly criticized the regime—in particular on its threats to Israel, support for terrorism, and Holocaust denial—conveyed the crucial message to Tehran that the EU will not tolerate the regime’s nefarious and criminal behavior,” said Schwammenthal.
“All too often, EU leaders fail to do just that—to publicly confront Iran. Predictably, this has only served to embolden Iran’s aggression,” he added.
Yet some Jewish groups condemned the EU Parliament’s decision to host Alaeddin, arguing that the platform gives him legitimacy.
“While the European Commission has legitimate reasons to be an interlocutor with the Iranian regime, the Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs decision to invite Mr. Boroujerdi for ‘an exchange of views’ legitimizes him as someone whose views are worthy of consideration,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote in a letter to the EU Parliament.