A former senior Euro MP and expert on the Middle East has expressed outrage at the visit to Tehran this week of a delegation from the European Parliament. Struan Stevenson, who was a Conservative MEP representing the UK from 1999 to 2014 and President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, has stated that he felt revulsion at the “skulking antics” of the MEPs, who “bowed and scraped like beggars” when they met senior members of a regime, which has its “fingerprints on every conflict in the Middle East.”

Struan Stevenson said: “As a former European Commissioner, Janusz Lewandowski should have known better. Shaking hands with murderers in Tehran and even praising them for their fight against Daesh, was an act of appalling appeasement on a scale almost similar to Chamberlain’s meeting with Hitler in Munich.” Lewandowski from Poland, who chairs the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iran, led the 5-person delegation, which included a German Green, a member of the German Left Party, a German socialist and an Italian socialist. Lewandowski is a member of the European Parliament’s majority centre-right European People’s Party (EPP).

Stevenson continued: “Lewandowski and his leftist team bowed and scraped like beggars in Tehran, even congratulating the speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Ali Larijani, on Iran’s role in bringing ‘stability to the region’ through its efforts in the fight against the terrorist group Daesh (ISIS). Did Lewandowski not think to ask why Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), recently listed as international terrorists by the US Treasury Department, is backing Bashar al-Assad in his bloody civil war in Syria, as well as the brutal Houthi rebels in Yemen and the terrorist Hezbollah organisation in Lebanon? When he was praising Iran for its fight against Daesh did he not ask why they exploited that opportunity to wage a genocidal campaign against the innocent Sunni citizens of Mosul, Fallujah and Ramadi in Iraq, ancient cities that have now been reduced to rubble?

“Did the arch-appeaser Lewandowski not know that the ‘so-called’ moderate president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, has presided over the execution of more than 3500 people since he took office in 2013, over 350 so far this year. Did Lewandowski ask why the young British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been imprisoned on trumped-up charges in Iran’s hellhole Evin prison? Did Lewandowski and his team ask Ali Larijani why, earlier this year, Amnesty International published a 94-page report entitled “Caught in a web of repression: Iran’s human rights defenders under attack,” in which it detailed the appalling abuse of human rights in Iran and highlighted the Islamic Republic’s medieval tortures and notorious overuse of the death penalty?

Lewandowski and his discredited team met with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign minister, as well as Ali Larijani, the Parliament’s Speaker and Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazil. They listened attentively to ludicrous claims by the regime’s leading ministers that Europe was shielding “highly dangerous terrorists from the MKO”, a legitimate democratic opposition movement feared and detested by the mullahs. Yet Lewandowski failed to enquire why the regime had executed 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, most of which were supporters of the MKO, in a crime against humanity now being investigated by the United Nations?

“Lewandowski might even have asked why classified documents seized by the Americans during their raid on the residence of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on 2 May 2011, and recently made public by the Americans, have proved that the mullahs were working hand-in-hand with al-Qaeda and Bin Laden himself and subsequently even with ISIS or Daesh.

“Visits of this kind to the epicenter of Islamic fundamentalism and to a regime that is recognized as the Godfather of terror throughout the Middle East and the world, are a grave mistake. For people like Janusz Lewandowksi to front such a visit is a disgrace and a gift to the mullah’s fascist propaganda machine. Let us hope this mistake is never repeated.”