Kudos to UPI for standing alone in getting the story right about Europe’s eagerness to cross its own red lines on human rights – just to get closer to Tehran. Finally a media outlet noticed what we’ve been reporting for a while now (the others must still be on holiday).
As reported by the news agency, at least 38 death sentences were carried out during last month’s official five-member European Parliament delegation visit to Tehran led by Tarja Cronberg. While there, she praised President Hassan Rouhani for keeping his “promise to improve human rights”; did not condemn some 450 executions carried out since his election; and explained that Europe must accept the value differences that exist with Iran.
Even when acknowledging that large numbers of executions were still taking place, she insisted that these were on the judiciary’s orders – clearing Rouhani of any responsibility.
As UPI pointed out, social media users were quick to pick up on the dissonance.
“So Rouhani is only responsible for the good things that his judiciary does and not the bad things!”, the agency quoted one Twitter user as saying.
Despite Cronberg’s maneuvering, the delegation still faced criticism from within Iran: Human Rights Council secretary Mohammed Javad Larijani accused it of behaving without “the minimum respect for the rules of diplomatic behavior” by meeting with political prisoners. His conclusion: the West’s attitude towards Iran hadn’t changed – he even accused it of “stoking unrest” within Iran.
Is Europe doing too much for Iran or not enough? Depends who you ask, but one thing is clear: while the EU is all too eager to soften its criticism against Tehran, Iran isn’t about to do it the same courtesy. Hats off to UPI for catching this important nuance.