Iran Hopes

A Weblog on Iranian Affairs (Formerly Iran Votes 2005)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I am following the "Iran after the Elections" conference held in Brussels today (Wednesday). With all due respect to all of its participants, I must say they are, once again, wasting their (and their fellow Iranians') time.
Human rights in Iran is obviously a main theme of this conference. If I had got an invitation to this conference, the first question I would have asked myself would be whether the Europeans are really concerned about the human rights situation in Iran. There are few indications of its concern. One example is that the EU has maintained a 'dialogue' with Iran on Human Rights since 1990s, which, to a various degrees, has produced progress in some areas. For instance, the public floggings and executions which began to become common during the early years of Khatami's administration (to damage his international efforts) were stopped under EU pressure. So, 'human rights' in Iran is one of the issues of concern for the Europeans. But it is not the most important one.
In fact, Iran's nuclear program constitutes the most important area of concern for the Europeans. This is quite 'understandable': Iran's nuclear power is a matter of concern for international community since it poses threat to other states - mainly the US, Euoropean countries and of course Iran's immediate neighbours, while the human rights issue is a domestic (Iranian) issue. In other words, violations of Iran's breaches of human rights does not threaten the EU member states, or any other country, but its nuclear program does. Therefore, when it comes to priorotising their demands from the Iranian regime, they put the nuclear program first. This may appear quite reasonable. However, what should concern Iranian human rights activists is that Europeans may consider human rights as a 'concession' to the Iranian regime to persuade them not to continue on their nuclear program. The sad thing is, and we know it, that the European are prepared to give such a concession: to ask Iran to give up on its nuclear program to get lucrative trade agreements in return - with no mentinoning of the dark human rights record. Iranian regime, on the other hand, knows very well how to play its cards to get more and more concessions from the EU.
Another question that comes to mind is whether there was a single incident where the EU has delegated to a team of foreign ministers, like the one for nuclear talks, to put pressure on Iran for its violations of human rights. The answer is simple and clear: NO!
When I put these questions to myself I become less and less interested in the European prescription for Iranian democratic movement. Furthermore, only a look at the list of the participants in the "Iran after the Elections" conference convinces me that Europeans are not really interested in the human rights issue, otherwise why would they chose most, if not all, of the Iranian participants in this conference from those who have for long been 'disconnected' with the realities of today Iran. We do not need to go too far to realize this fact that there is huge gap between what is really taking place in Iran and the 'forzen' mindframe of some of those participants. A quick review of their pre-election comments drives this message home. The sad thing is, however, that their speeches at the conference reflects no change in their perspectives, and for the EU these are taken as the "Iranian views". Quite frankly, a few of those participants know nothing about Iran and its politics. They are there just to get attention. I am certain that for many Iranians it is a big misery to see those people, regardless of their high social or academic status, be taken as 'representatives or voices of Iran today'.
In any event, let's remain assured that the Iranian regime will not at all be bothered by what is said about its human rights record - in Brussels or elsewhere . They know how to play the game with the Europeans (and others) and are certain that such conferences and semiars, etc will do no harm to their powerful position.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk is cheap... And Europeans love to talk. But to act?

6:05 AM  

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