A month’s passed since our last Europe update. This time mostly bad news (readers beware), so let’s begin with the good.
Major development in the drug issue, which we’ve been closely following: the Danish government has decided to stop funding the UNODC’s support of Tehran’s execution policy under the guise of combating narcotics. Amnesty’s response is right-on:
“It’s essential that one doesn’t take on crime-fighting efforts that lead to the systematic violation of human rights,” Trine Christensen, policy director at Amnesty International, told Politiken. “The situation in Iran is serious with hundreds of people being executed due to drug crimes. The extent of the problem makes it necessary to step in.”
Now some good news mixed with bad news. The good news is that the European media wisely ignored this item; the bad news is it occurred at all. Turns out two European Parliament members familiar to this blog’s readers from previous posts wrote this letter to Lady Ashton complaining about restrictions against Iranian students imposed in EU universities as a result of international sanctions. They conveniently ignored the specific provision of Security Council Resolution 1737 on this matter:
17. Calls upon all States to exercise vigilance and prevent specialized, teaching or training of Iranian nationals, within their territories or by their nationals, of disciplines which would contribute to Iran’s proliferation sensitive nuclear activities and development of nuclear weapon delivery systems
Not at all surprising that the letter is prominently displayed on the website of the Hamburg-based Germany-Iran chamber of commerce, which is about to host a trade mission headed by the president of the Iranian chamber of commerce, industry, mines and agriculture (that mines thing could be interesting….). Incidentally, the same German outfit will be taking a delegation to Iran in July (to Tabriz, not sure what’s there). And so Germany’s business goes on, alongside the sanctions…
Also turns out that a German federal ministry is sponsoring an event in which a local theological academy will soon be hosting Tehran’s ambassador to Berlin – who’s been directly implicated in the killing of civilians in Kurdish Iran – as part of its effort to strengthen Iranian civil society. Strange.
Over to France. Most importantly, the head of an extremist party publicly admitted to receiving Iranian financial support of his campaign. Certainly not an everyday event – not the confession, anyway.
Then there’s Iran’s ambassador to Paris, who in a recent interview (also appeared in French) threatened to launch World War 3 – this, from a country which has been upgrading its rhetoric on the need for world peace.
On a more serious note, we’ll conclude with this Le Monde analysis of Almaty 2, which stands out – if nothing else – for the fact that there were so few think pieces on the meetings in the non-anglo press. From our standpoint, the poignant point made is its reference to the weaknesses of the P5+1 – which it considers to be no more than a paper tiger, unable (unwilling?) to threaten Iran.
Unfortunately, the piece recommends giving Tehran what it seeks. Pity, really: so many in the media are tempted these days – on both sides of the Atlantic – to urge throwing in the towel, instead of utilizing to the full all the tools in the box.
Battle fatigue? Looks that way.