Austria plans to rekindle business ties with Iran amidst human rights violations

It’s been three weeks since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was made public, and before the sanctions have even been repealed European companies and countries are making plans to start doing business with Iran amidst reports of Iran’s human rights abuses.

The Vienna-based NGO, Stop the Bomb, revealed that the Austrian company Palfinger AG, which is an international manufacturer of cranes, hydraulic lifting, and other such loading and handling systems, plans to rekindle its business ties with Iran. What is very disturbing about this is that when Palfinger AG did business with Iran in the past, their equipment, most notably their cranes, were used for capital punishment.

This comes on the heels of an Amnesty International report about Iran’s excessive use of the death penalty. Many in Iran face persecution because of their religious affiliations, their sexual orientation, their advocacy work, and more. How can a western country pursue economic ties and a build a business relationship with a country that is so repressive and rejects values that I would hope they hold dear?

As mentioned in my previous blog post, Iran is expected to execute as many as 1,000 people by the end of this year and if Palfinger AG goes ahead with their business plans with Iran they will be aiding and abetting in Iran’s human rights violations as the regime continues its brutal oppression.

Austrian President Heinz Fischer and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Austrian President Heinz Fischer, Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, Economy Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner, and Austrian Economic Chamber WKO President Christoph Leitl plan on visiting Iran. It’s as if they think this is Nixon opening the doors to China in 1972, but this is vastly different! The west needs to be skeptical and keep a critical eye of Iran. By opening trade lines with Iran, they encourage the Regime to further commit human rights violations because it is as if they are giving Iran the “OK” and validating their horrendous actions.

While the deal with Iran and the P5+1 is meant to focus on managing Iran’s nuclear capabilities, it trickles over into other aspects of the Iranian regime and will enable Iran to continue with its repressive, police state-like regime.

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