Piece by piece, in several languages and without attracting too much attention, the media is revealing a diminishing EU resolve on the Iranian nuclear crisis and sanctions.
On the sidelines of the Geneva talks, top EU officials could be heard expressing cautious optimism regarding Iran’s intentions. Below the surface, however, European officials and influentials apparently can wait no longer for a return to business as usual with Tehran.
Thanks to a tweet by Jeffrey Goldberg, we stumbled upon what appears to be Iran’s most significant charm offensive event to date in this context. Turns out that the Iranian Embassy joined forces this week in Bucharest with a local think tank to host a two-day conference on “EU and the Middle East – Iranian Viewpoints.” This event featured a couple of Iranian officials flown in from Tehran (and the local Iranian ambassador), who naturally included trade opportunities in their brief.
Meanwhile, two French parliamentarians visited Tehran this week and provided a propaganda opportunity for the Iranian press. This occurred on the heels of a similar visit days earlier by several European Parliament (EP) members, including Hannes Swoboda from Austria, who reportedly called for sanctions against Iran to be lifted.
That’s not all. Head of the EP’s Iran delegation Tarja Cronberg, from Finland, said the EU should open a diplomatic mission in Iran (Cronberg’s apparently planning an official delegation visit to Iran in December).
Then there’s a document issued this week by a supposedly reputable European think tank, the ECFR, calling for “easing the EU’s unilateral banking sanctions and providing Iran with access to the European market” (which particularly excited the Iranian press).
Something’s not right here. Thanks to an alert media, our readers may be learning about these EU developments even before Lady Ashton’s office. To be continued…