Direct talks between Iran and the US; everyone is talking about them. Well… everyone except for the two parties which really matter; both of whom denied all the reports.
Nothing will happen before the US elections, so we let’s focus on more pressing issues.
In my recent post we praised the EU’s decision to ratchet up the sanctions against the Islamic Republic, as a result of its disputed nuclear program and horrendous human rights record. But the question was raised just how committed the EU is to its mantra of freedom, democracy and human rights in practice when dealing with the current Iranian regime.
One of the issues I brought up was the European Parliament’s 2012 planned trip to Tehran. And it appears that it is back on.
I quoted Abbas Razi’s Huff Post blog to emphasize why these trips have never come to fruition in the past, and why this still is not a good idea today if the EU wants to maintain any sort of moral consistency or diplomatic efficacy.
Razai reminds us what happened to the last attempts:
2009: “The first attempt in 2009 failed due to the “unfavourable political climate” created by the fraudulent presidential elections hijacked by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”
2010: “In September 2010, the parliament authorised a delegation to Tehran, conditioned partly on lifting the death penalty on an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for alleged adultery. That condition was not met and the proposed delegation therefore did not travel.”
2011:” The Delegation made a third attempt In October 2011 but was faced with public outrage which prompted cancellation of the trip at the last minute.”
And for those who forgot what happened during the last trip:
“Several people were hanged in public during the last trip by a European parliamentary delegation to Iran in 2007. The trip was hailed by the Iranian media.”
“The latest Year Report by Amnesty International, counts 634 executions carried out in Iran during 2011. That puts Iran to world’s number one executioner state, per capita. The number of public executions in Iran quadrupled compared to the previous year.
This time around, the voices of sanity and morality can still be heard.
“The EP delegation to Iran should not visit Teheran because it might be used for propaganda purposes by the Iranian regime” stated Paweł Zalewski, member of the EP delegation to Iran from EPP.”
These two were on the original list, but quickly backed out when they understood the ruse – perhaps not only by the Iranians, but also by the head of their own delegation.
As far as the media are concerned, the variety of European languages has made this a difficult one to follow.
The Hill printed this strong message:
“As you know, we strongly support increased ties between the United States Senate and the European Parliament, and we believe it is critical that we work together to present a strong, united front in our efforts regarding Iran at this critical juncture,” Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) wrote in a letter to European Parliament President Martin Schulz.
While Parliament.com highlighted another MEP who has added his name to those European legislators irked by this planned visit:
“Senior MEP Martin Callanan has become the latest deputy to call for the visit to be cancelled.
The European Conservatives and Reformists leader called on parliament’s president to block the 16-strong delegation on 27 October which is due to be led by Finnish Greens MEP Tarja Cronberg.”
Perhaps the most eloquent and forceful of opinion pieces was penned for UPI by Ryszard Czarnecki, a British born Polish MEP:
“Describing appeasement, Konrad Adenauer, the German chancellor after the second world war once said: “The one sure way to conciliate a tiger is to allow oneself to be devoured.” This advice seems not to be taken seriously by a minority group of my colleagues in the European Parliament’s “Iran Delegation” who are keen to visit Iran at the end of this month.
The West has tried every possible incentive to please the ruling mullahs in Iran. A friend of mine in the Iranian resistance said: “The support that this medieval regime has received from the West goes far beyond any other dictatorships in recent Iranian history. One might be astonished to know that the West policy during the past decade has actually strengthened the ayatollahs and hampered their opposition.”
Perhaps the most shocking report comes in the German-language press (it helps to have friends in multi-lingual places), that the vice chairperson of the delegation – hailing from Germany – arrogantly admitted that its planned meeting with the EU-sanctioned head of the Iranian judiciary, a Larijani brother, and called the sanctions “stupid.”
So much for the European Parliament. But the Iranian charm offensive in Europe doesn’t end there. Turns out a Bundestag delegation is also dying to visit the world’s leading executioner:
The Iranians are desperate. Desperate for international legitimacy. Desperate for another NAM-esque diplomatic victory. But instead of increasing the pressure, these European parliamentarians are speaking far too softly while not carrying any stick at all. Poor Lady Ashton – seems her colleagues are also desperate for attention.