The EU’s ‘invisible issue’ on Iran blights Rouhani’s Inauguration Day Celebrations
To obtain stronger civil rights while securing economic growth, the Iran regime has not tackled the ‘invisible issue’ on the table, human rights. Neither has the EU, according to MEP Beatriz Becerra, an allied partner with ALDE Group, which is dedicated to civic rights and economic growth.
Talking to TME (The Media Express) about human rights ahead of Saturday’s second term inauguration for President Rouhani, Ms. Becerra is hopeful that during Saturday’s visit by Federica Mogherini, Chair of the Nuclear Deal overseeing its state of implementation, will use her globally agreed mandate to shore-up non-negotiable human rights’ improvements on this occasion.
The ‘Invisible Issue’
During the meeting, the presence of Mogherini as Chair, but also in her capacity as a High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security and as Vice President of the EU Commission, Saturday must be taken as an opportunity to stop treating human rights as an ‘invisible issue’.
Instead, Mogherini needs to represent an enlarging of the scope of the talks to include Iran’s death penalty moratorium, and bedding further economic actions with improved human rights and commuting death penalties to prison sentences.
The EU, now understood as a trading partner with the Iran regime, must not allow its new trading partner to champion its continuation of systematic executions and its systematic discrimination of women. But how can this play out, if is there any hope that the Iran regime can adapt?
Becerra thinks no, but added, “I think that there are two great issues.” First of all, the MEP spoke about the need to monitor Iran’s penal code review of the death penalty. Since the Nuclear Deal was settled, and after the first visit by Mogherini to Tehran with other commissioners, in general, Becerra felt that this issue was and has been completely missed.
The only reference to it from last year’s visit was the intention to have a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights follow its development. In fact, there has been no improvement on human rights. Under the tenure of President Rouhani (inaugurating for a second term on Saturday), the number of executions in Iran has reached record high.
Ratifying Action Against Iran’s Human Rights’ Violations
So far, the global action strategy via the Nuclear Deal, ‘to improve civil rights while securing economic growth’ in Iran initially through the narrative of ‘dismantling nuclear capabilities’ has not been implemented by Mogherini. On Saturday, one year after the deal began, maybe she is now in a position to address this ‘invisible issue’, hardly, if ever mentioned, during her previous visit.
In specific terms, this means ratifying a ‘specific plan to facilitate the visit of the EU HR observers’, as agreed in 2016, but never given precedence by Mogherini. Ms. Becerra is sure that because the EU already has a Representative on Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis. Yet, under his supervision, alongside monitoring the dismantling of the Iran regime’s nuclear capabilities, Becerra noted:
“We still have the best opportunity ever to demand from Iran other kinds of concrete achievements. For example, improvements in specific human rights, which we didn’t yet do.”
On home soil, Ms. Becerra thinks that way to tackle Rouhani, during EU state visits, is to support him more. But it’s not support in the traditional sense of allowing him a free hand. But more to force Rouhani, as a representative of the Iranian regime, to comply with the demands and values of the international community and to no longer concede to his idealistic demands.
Becerra noted that Europe needs to say no to demands by the Iranian regime to veil stone and marble statues, as they requested from Italy during a previous state visit. “We need to say ‘no’ to this concession, and force their hand into modernity,” said Becerra.
A massive challenge is the regime’s anti-democratic credentials, which make it an inept at embracing a wholesale democratic values system. Basically, Iran’s stance is that “we cannot adapt to this kind of demand, as they are not according to our views nor our principles.”
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Asking Becerra if Saturday’s meeting is a realistic chance to adapt the tenants of the Nuclear Deal to address the so far ‘invisible issue’ of human rights violations and the regime’s barbaric penal code and judicial system, she replied:
“The integrated plan of Joint Action (JCPOA — Nuclear Deal) established opening the way to remove sanctions and financial obstacles. Tehran is establishing new lines of cooperation in areas, such as environmental, agricultural and energy. I think now the ways are open to address human rights head on, and [for Mogherni] to implement a fast-track blueprint toward towards the abolition of the death penalty.”