As we watched Khamenei’s selections campaign, we couldn’t help but notice the clear moral voice emanating from Germany on behalf of the Iranian people. What else has been happening lately?
Well, some conscientious folk there held a demonstration in early June to celebrate the birthday of jailed human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh in front of the Iranian embassy in Berlin. Over in Munich, a protest was held against the German engineering firm MAN SE for violating sanctions against Tehran. And according to figures released by the pro-Tehran Germany-Iran Chamber of Commerce, bilateral trade essentially remains down (could always be lower).
If the above is any indication, civil society – and even commercial activity, to a certain extent – are in reasonable shape. What about diplomacy?
Well, the most interesting tidbit coming from Berlin lately in this context has to be this account from a German diplomat serving in Tehran and responsible for the human rights portfolio. We’ll let her speak for herself as she reports about an NGO refugee conference there, the first such conference in Iran for about 30 years:
It is indeed something of a miracle that the Iranian Ministry for the Interior has not only given permission for the conference but has even become actively involved. NGOs have a hard time in Iran, often being denied work permits and complaining of government checks that go so far as to prevent their activities Maybe things are changing now; maybe this conference is a sign that things are cautiously becoming more open.
More open? Let’s ask Khamenei…
Guess she hasn’t heard about how the EU-sanctioned Interior Ministry, also responsible for the refugee issue, likes to exploit his areas of responsibility to bolster legitimacy – his, and that of his country.