The European Union's charter stresses that "Human rights are at the heart of EU relations with other countries and regions. The European Union is based on a strong commitment to promoting and protecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law worldwide". This is clearly not the case when it comes to the EU's appeasing relationship with the ruling mullahs of Iran.
The Iranian regime is ramping up its killing spree, torture and arrests.
Amnesty International's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Diana Eltahawy, said on January 11, regarding the regime's suppression:
"It is abhorrent that the Iranian authorities persist in their state-sanctioned killing spree as they desperately seek to end the protests and cling to power by instilling fear among the public. The arbitrary executions of Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, just days after their death sentences were upheld, reveal how the Iranian authorities continue to wield the death penalty as a weapon of repression, and serve as a chilling reminder that scores of others remain at risk of execution."
Meanwhile, Germany, which preaches about human rights and its "feminist foreign policy", has actually increased its business with the Iranian regime, even as the mullahs are brutally crushing women who are fighting tyranny and risking their lives to have freedom. According to Fox News:
"Germany's longstanding efforts to conduct business with the Islamic Republic of Iran include a robust trade relationship at a time when the regime has reportedly killed at least 700 protesters and arrested as many as 19,000. Berlin is facing intense criticism for placating Tehran. The protests across Iran in response to the murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini have pushed Germany's so-called 'feminist foreign policy' into the spotlight. The regime's notorious morality police allegedly tortured Amini to death for failing to 'properly' wear her mandatory hijab. Germany has consistently been the Islamic Republic's most important trade partner."
Some of Iran's major trading partners are in fact among members of the European Union. According to Mehr News Agency:
"Iran and the European Union's 27 member states traded €4.36 billion worth of goods during the first 10 months of 2022, registering a 14.28% rise compared with last year's corresponding period...
"Germany was the top trading partner of Iran in the EU region during the period, as the two countries exchanged over €1.6 billion worth of goods, 15.44% more than in a similar period of the year before.
"Italy came next with €555.39 million worth of trade with Iran to register an 11.14% year-on-year rise, Finacial [sic] Tribune reported.
"The Netherlands with €351.94 million (down 10.76%) and Spain with €296.06 million (up 13.12%) were Iran's other major European trade partners."
Instead of issuing superficial verbal condemnations while doing business with the mullahs, the European countries need to recall their representatives and ambassadors from Tehran, and sever diplomatic ties with Iran.
In fact, during a conference at the Press Club Brussels, organized by the International Committee in Search of Justice, several former members of the European parliament called for all European countries to "end their hypocrisy" and shut down their embassies in Iran. Ingrid Betancourt said:
"This is the first revolution conducted by women ... and while women are fighting for their rights, men are being attacked and persecuted by the regime, too — everyone. These women, at this moment, are putting their lives at stake and they are doing this for all of us, all of the women in the world ... if we don't get this right, we won't be able to get any other issues right.... This is about mankind, humankind.... We are not doing anything. I am offended by the lack of action our governments are having with what is going on in Iran".
If the EU truly desires to stand with the women of Iran and human rights instead of doing business with the regime, it can take collective action to halt its business dealings and trade with the Iranian regime. Other reasons for the EU to cease enriching this toxic regime include its delivery of weapons to Russia and support for militia and terror groups. These include the Houthis fighting a war in Yemen; Hizballah, close to wrecking Lebanon; and Hamas, torturing the people of Gaza and crushing dissent for more than a decade.
By prioritizing its business and trade with Iran over promoting human rights and countering terrorism, the EU is emboldening and empowering the expansionist regime of Iran to suppress and kill more of its citizens, stamp out the women-led revolution for freedom, supply Russia with more weapons, and sponsor more terrorist groups worldwide.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US Foreign Policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu