The European Union has been urged to urgently clarify whether it is helping to fund Iranian anti-narcotics programmes linked to mass executions.
In a letter seen by The Independent, human rights charity Reprieve raises concerns that as part of a “new page” in EU-Iran relations announced earlier this year, the EU and member states could be actively seeking to fund UN programmes linked to support for Iran’s drug police – a body responsible for hundreds of executions in the country.
Reprieve has called for “urgent clarification of the European Commission’s policy on funding counter-narcotics operations in Iran”, following “deeply concerning” reports in the Iranian media that a senior official in the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said the EU was actively seeking to provide support for Iranian drug enforcement operations.
The letter, addressed to EU foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini and co-signed by NGOs including Human Rights Watch and Iran Human Rights, cites a report in the Iran Daily stating a UNODC official named Alex P Schmid confirmed “the European Union has positive evaluation of Iran’s performance in the anti-narcotics fight,” and the “European Commission is eager to earmark new funds to Iran for the purpose”.
He reportedly added: “Countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Norway are ready to allocate the credit to Iran.”