A group of former European Parliament members this week participated in a panel discussion regarding the failure of the EU to take tough action in response to Iran’s brutal oppression of protesters.

The protests began in September following the killing of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, after she was arrested by Iran’s so-called morality police for failing to properly wear a hijab while in public. Protesters believe she was tortured.

During the past four months, more than 500 protesters have been killed. Yet, despite the brutality of the Iranian regime, the protests continue to spread throughout the country and grow in strength.

Surprisingly, the EU, along with most of the world, has done little more than express outrage and support long-standing sanctions that have failed to encourage the Iranian mullahs to end their oppressive policies and actions. But many diplomats and leaders in Europe believe their countries can and must do more.

One answer is for European nations to escalate their rhetoric and take serious action, such as by closing down Iran’s embassies and consulate offices in their countries and expelling all of their diplomats. Activists and former EU diplomats also argued during a recent press conference in Brussels that all nations, including those in the EU, should close their own embassies that are located in Iran. It is estimated that Iran has 101 embassies and 34 consulate missions around the world. And there are more than 75 foreign embassies and 16 consulates inside Iran.
People are being murdered by Iran without consequence. The international condemnation and the empty words of support for the protesters are doing nothing to discourage the oppression or encourage democracy.

Iran under this regime is a terrorist state. The US designated Iran a state sponsor of terrorism in 1984. In 2019, Washington toughened its designation by specifically identifying the country’s elite military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as a foreign terrorist organization. So why does the US allow this terrorist nation to have a diplomatic presence in its capital? While it does not have an embassy, Iran maintains an Interests Section in the Pakistani Embassy.

Many Arab countries — despite Iran’s assault on the Arab and Muslim worlds over the years — also host full Iranian embassies. There are even more in Europe and the West. And there are many in South America and Central America too.

How is it that a state sponsor of terrorism, which fuels conflict throughout the Gulf, the Arab world, Europe and the West, can maintain an official presence in the countries in which it has engaged in violence?

Closing the embassies would be painful to many wealthy Iranian citizens. But it would be a short-term action if the ban were implemented across the board.

All of the Iranian embassy properties should be turned over to the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran as a demonstration of the world’s commitment to demanding that Iran implement democracy and end its violence against citizens, particularly women.

The protests sweeping through Iran are a true revolution that are being led by the country’s women, who are demanding freedom from oppression. They are risking their lives every day by protesting and speaking out against Iran’s oppression and its violations of their civil and human rights. They have been joined by citizens from every profession and they need our real support, not lip service.

Weakening Iran would undermine its terrorist network, which operates in countries around the world. It would make the world a safer place. And it would undermine Iran’s influence in other conflict zones, where it has been using drones to attack civilian and government targets in countries like Saudi Arabia and Ukraine.

No one seems to waste any time speaking about the effort to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal. Those negotiations have been a joke; a tactic by Iran to delay any effort to curtail its campaign to build a nuclear weapon. Once Iran has a nuclear weapon, all hope of bringing the regime to its knees will evaporate.

It is not enough to talk. Talking only gives Iran’s regime more time to achieve its nuclear goals. Something must be done. We need to listen to the voices of reason, support the protesters in a real way and give some bite to our words condemning Iran’s terrorist actions.

“Empty words of support for the protesters are doing nothing to discourage the oppression or encourage democracy”
Ray Hanania

Source » arabnews