- Published: Wednesday, 12 February 2020
Josep Borrell, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, visited Iran on February 3 to express the bloc's ongoing support for the nuclear deal, signed by Iran and six world powers in 2015, which is allowing the regime to survive.
This support comes despite the nationwide anti-regime protests in November, where the mullahs launched a massive crackdown, killing 1,500 peaceful protesters, injuring 5,000, and arresting 12,000.
Borrell, who met with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, President Hassan Rouhani and the parliament's speaker, Ali Larijani, said he wanted to decrease tensions following the assassination of Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike last month. In effect, he gave the mullahs more ammunition for their propaganda machine.
After all, in his press release about the visit, Borrell failed to mention the regime's downing of the Ukrainian civilian airliner, which killed 176 people or the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) murder of young protesters during the November uprising or human rights in Iran at all. All he said was that the visit would allow him "to convey the EU's strong commitment to preserve" the nuclear deal and discuss EU-Iran cooperation.
This visit attracted condemnation across Europe, particularly at a conference of Italian lawmakers on Wednesday, where he was eviscerated for not upholding human rights or condemning the regime's domestic oppression and aggressive expansionism.
Senator Roberto Rampi, a member of the Italian Senate Human Rights Commission, said: "Unfortunately, Europe wants to continue dialogue and support for this bloodthirsty regime. We must tell them, loud and clear, that this approach is wrong. We must continue to work to establish democracy and freedom in Iran. Economic interests are important, but they cannot and should not be prioritized over human rights and security, and we must speak clearly to the European Union and call for a regime change in Iran."
Indeed, Borrell must end this appeasement of Iran and follow the US path of increasing pressure on Iran through sanctions and diplomatic isolation, because the EU should not condone the regime's fundamentalism.
Struan Stevenson, the coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change and a former member of the European Parliament, wrote: “Borrell needs to open a new chapter on EU policy in the Middle East. He must accept that appeasement has failed…
It is shameful to see the EU placing more emphasis on trade and commerce than on human rights. The people of Iran expect Europe and the United Nations to be on their side. They expect their calls for democracy to be taken seriously. Human rights and women's rights cannot be compromised or marginalized on the pretext of political considerations, trade deals or the flawed nuclear agreement.”