Although Iran’s Parliament has expressed its disapproval of a meeting between a European Parliament delegation and Iranians Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi, the latest reports indicate that the visit was organized with the approval of the judiciary and its international advisor.
Mohammad Javad Larijani, speaking for the judiciary, has reportedly said that he agreed to the meeting because “these individuals have been prosecuted and served their sentences, and the Islamic Republic has nothing to hide.”
Iran’s Parliament has voiced its objection that the meeting took place, saying the European delegation should not have met with Sotoudeh and Panahi because “they have often heard the view of the opposition and this time they should have been exposed to our side.”
The European parliamentary delegation met with Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and filmmaker Jafar Panahi last week so it could present them with the Sakharov Human Rights Award, which the two Iranians had won in 2012.
Sotoudeh and Panahi were arrested in the aftermath of the 2009 Iranian election protests and both were symbolic figures of resistance against the Islamic Republic’s hardline policies against the opposition.
President Rohani’s moderate administration came to power last August, a sign that the country’s political atmosphere was opening up; however, hardliners still remain entrenched in their views and remain highly suspicious of relations with the West.