Iran has recently entered a round of negotiations with the European Community representatives over human rights issues.
A delegation of Iranian representative from the foreign ministry and the judiciary are attending these meeting. Majid Takhtravanchi, Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister and member of the said delegation commented on the negotiations saying the talks with the EU over human rights will be long and must be kept at a technical level avoiding any form of “politicization” of the matter.
He added that the Islamic Republic would not negotiate over the issues of the “Qesas (retribution of kind; “eye for an eye” equivalent in Islamic jurisprudence) and the death penalty”.
The EU and the US have imposed a number of international sanctions against some Iranian officials and entities on the basis of alleged human rights violations.
In response to ILNA reporter asking whether international sanctions related to human rights violations could be dropped against Iran through these talks, Takhravanchi said:: “Our chief position in these talks is that the human rights issue must be dealt with on its own and avoid any form of politicization.”
Takhravanchi who was also a member of the negotiating team during the nuclear talks with the 5+1 said in the nuclear talks they had maintained the same position that the nuclear issue had to be discussed without attempt at “politicization”.
In this context the foreign ministry official pointed to the issue of “Islamophobia” in Europe and human rights violations in Yemen as a possible topic of discussion. He stressed that if human rights are treated in their “technical context”, there would be room for much discussion. He maintained however: “In some areas where we have the express guidance of the Quran such as Qesas (retribution in kind), there is no room for discussion.”
“We have told them that in certain areas there are red lines that we will not cross.” Takhtravanchi said; “When they talk about the death penalty, we say the death penalty is part of our laws and is something we cannot set aside. Qesas is a Quranic matter and cannot be set aside. It is clear to us as it is to them.” He added that beside these issues there was room for discussion and reaching closer mutual understanding on other aspects of human rights.
International human rights groups have consistently expressed concern over the purported rising number of executions and human rights violations in Iran in recent years.
Since the finalization of the nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers in 2013, Iran and EU relations have gradually approached normalization and the EU is looking at setting up an office in Tehran.
Following a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini earlier this month, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters that Iran will not shy away from representing its stance on human rights issues.