Europe’s deafening silence

Europe’s deafening silence, Israel Hayom, Eldad Beck, January 4, 2018

It took until Tuesday evening for Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s senior representative for foreign affairs, to break her silence on the mass protests against the Iranian regime. Mogherini, who wastes no time when it comes to responding to every announcement on the expansion of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, found it fitting to wait until demonstrators began to clear out of city streets out of fear of a violent response by the Revolutionary Guards before she called on “all concerned” in Iran to abstain from violence and said the killing of dozens of protesters at the hands of Iranian forces was “unacceptable.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also remained silent for far too long. Her spokesman waited until Wednesday to express admiration for the bravery of the people taking to Tehran’s streets to express their financial and political concerns. By the time the statement was issued, protests against the mullah regime had already subsided.

French President Emmanuel Macron was slightly more energetic in his approach. Macron called Iranian President Hassan Rouhani directly to express his concern for the number of protesters killed and the violation of the freedom of expression. He also decided to postpone a visit by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that had been scheduled for this week.

The timing of the popular uprising in Iran may have been less than convenient for the Europeans, as it coincides with the holiday season, but this was not the only reason for their silence: Their reaction was muted because the protests across Iran served to shatter the Europeans’ central argument in their defense of the nuclear deal with Tehran. The nuclear agreement, which the EU sees as its greatest achievement, was justified by arguing that should Rouhani and the “moderates” around him not be able to present the deal to the Iranian people, a deal that would lift international sanctions, improve the economy, contribute to the welfare of the population and preserve that nation’s dignity, the path would be paved for the “extremists” to return to power.

This desire to keep the “moderates” in power led the Europeans to shut their eyes to Tehran’s advancement of its ballistic missile program, Iranian efforts to undermine Middle East stability and its continuing human rights violations. But it is against the policies of these so-called moderates – the darlings of Europe, that the masses have now come out to demonstrate. It is possible that the Europeans will now argue for more open economic policies toward Iran and the removal of obstacles they still believe will spare the “moderates” from the wrath of the people and prevent the strengthening of the “extremists.” There are already those comparing the most recent wave of protests to the student protests of 1999, which undermined the position of Iran’s then-“moderate” President Mohammad Khatami.

Then as now, silence does not help the masses in Iran, who expect the European Union to be loyal not to its historical hypocrisy and economic calculations but to its founding principles.

Explore posts in the same categories: European leaders and Iranian protests

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