For the first time in over five years a delegation from the European parliament has travelled to Tehran to meet with Iranian lawmakers and officials including a group of female MPs, representatives of nongovernmental organisations, and human rights activists. The aim of the week long visit, which began on Thursday, is to strengthen relations.
Fatmeh Rahmar, leader of the women and family group said “there are clear differences between the two parties, but that is mostly cultural, which is very important. In Iran, every measure that we pursue has to be in accordance with the culture and religion of the country .”
Just nine of the 290 members of the Iranian parliament are women, another visible reminder of the cultural differences.
Tarja Cronberg, a Finnish Green MEP said “the fact women in the Iranian parliament form their own fraction, have their own group, discuss things and do research is an evolvement in the society. But you must also acknowledge that Iran as a whole is a conservative society.’
The EU delegation is also set to meet the country’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad- Javad Zarif, and the Honourary Chairman of the Expediency Council, Hashemi Rafsanjani, during their visit.