This has been the way of the mullahs since 1979; you should not be fooled by those who are trying to sell you the idea of Iran as a democracy or as capable of any meaningful reform. It is not. Even the press are too easily swayed by the hardliner versus moderate divide that the mullahs promote as a way to convince the world that there are reasonable people at the top branches of the Regime. There isn’t.
In no case is this more obvious than that of human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, 55, who was arrested last year for defending those protesting against Iran’s anti-forced hijab law. She has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes. She was first jailed in 2010, but despite the threats and humiliation she’s endured, she continued to fight for human rights in Iran.
Yet the EU, a bloc known for defending human rights, is failing to call for her immediate and unconditional release. Something that human rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have done with a petition signed by over 600,000.
Sotoudeh was awarded the Ludovic Trarieux international human rights prize last September, a coveted prize that Nelson Mandela received in 1985 whilst in prison. She was also awarded the Sakharov Prize in 2012 and was invited by Emmanuel Macron to join a G7 gender equality council. This indicates that the EU is aware of her plight, but are failing to do anything about it because they don’t want to anger the Iranian Regime. Indeed, EU foreign minister Federica Mogherini even supports Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who denies there are human rights abuses in Iran.
Human rights are also something that President Barack Obama failed to pay close attention to when negotiating the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – there were no caveats for the Regime to abide by human rights laws – and in the 2009 protests against the rigged election – where he failed to call out the undemocratic way in which these elections were run and the abuse of protesters.
These actions by the EU and US showcase that they are trying to pretend that human rights abuses in Iran do not exist. The only real option to solve the crisis in Iran is to remove the mullahs from power and deep down the world knows that.