14/12/2020

European countries withdraw from Iran-EU business forum as protest over execution of dissident and journalist Ruhollah Zam

BRUSSELS – Several European countries, most notably France, have withdrawn from an Iran-EU business forum after Iran executed, on Saturday, Iranian dissident and journalist Ruhollah Zam, editor-in-chief of the opposition website Amed News. Zam was ‘arrested’ in Iraq and taken to Iran in 2019 on charges of counter-revolutionary activities and collusion with French, American, and Israeli intelligence services.

In response to the execution, France, Germany, Italy, and Austria announced their withdrawal from a high-level virtual business forum which was scheduled for Monday. According to the BBC, the forum’s organizers decided to postpone the forum. Iran held high hopes for the Iran-EU business forum to ease the economic malaise among others because of the heavy U.S. sanctions.

France, which granted Zam asylum, described the execution as barbaric and unacceptable. It said it was contrary to Iran’s international obligations. The European Union condemned the killing in the strongest terms.