Thousands of people have marched to the European Union's parliament building in the eastern French city of Strasbourg in support of anti-government demonstrations that have rocked Iran for four months, while the Eiffel Tower in Paris lit the night with slogans of the nationwide protest movement.
Local police said some 2,000 demonstrators took part in the January 16 march in Strasbourg, calling on the EU to take a firmer stance against the Islamic Republic and put the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on the bloc's terrorist list.
MEPs are to debate this week the EU’s response to the Iranian authorities' bloody crackdown on the demonstrations, with a non-binding resolution expected to be voted on January 19.
Last week, more than 100 European lawmakers signed a letter addressed to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell calling on the bloc to designate the IRGC “in its entirety as a terrorist organization.”
The United States designated the IRGC a foreign terrorist organization in 2019.
Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra met with his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock, in The Hague on January 16. After the talks, Hoekstra said they both had summoned Iran’s ambassadors in their respective countries to protest executions of protesters and British-Iranian former Defense Ministry official Alireza Akbari.
The ministers support moves “to go further with EU sanctions against those responsible, all those responsible for these grave human rights violations in Iran,” Hoekstra said.
In Paris, the Eiffel Tower lit up with the slogans “Woman. Life. Freedom” and “#StopExecutionsInIran" in what Paris City Hall called a “homage to those who are bravely fighting for their freedom as the regime is continuing executions of protesters.”
Paris posthumously declared 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, whose September 16 death in the custody of Tehran’s morality police prompted the wave of demonstrations, an honorary citizen in October.
The protests represent one of the most serious challenges to the theocracy installed by the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Security forces have killed more than 500 people, including dozens of children, and detained over 18,000 in their crackdown on the demonstrations, human rights activists say.
More than 20 people have reportedly been handed capital punishment in connection with the protests. Two of them were hanged earlier this month amid international outrage, bringing to four the number of people executed so far.