When you talk to European diplomats about their main concern about Iran, it is a revolution in the country. It is not nuclear weapons, not terror, not regional destabilization and not serious human rights violations that are causing the greatest concern, but political change.
Now this nightmare of the Federal Foreign Office and other foreign ministries has finally come true: Iran is experiencing a massive revolution. Not just since September 19, but since 2009. After the alleged re-election of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, a protest movement spread throughout the country and has grown steadily ever since. All social groups are now involved in it – with the exception of the members of this dictatorship.
Now is no time to come to terms with the arrogance with which Western political circles view the idea of Iranian and, above all, secular freedom. It is of the utmost urgency these days that Europe and America give all political support to enable the brave Iranians to bring down their oppressors.
It’s not that the free world isn’t capable of learning – Ukraine is the best example of how a misguided policy can collapse like a house of cards within 48 hours and had to be corrected. The emphasis is on “had to” because no self-corrections take place voluntarily in our latitudes.
Hannah Arendt translations and dictatorship – is that possible?
Iran is a complex topic, also because its view is characterized by particularly stupid perspectives. Some wonder whether a country that translates and publishes works by Hannah Arendt can really be a full-blown dictatorship. When Iranian officials quote Karl Popper, then we are dealing with clever oppressors that one has to try to understand in dialogue, right?
At best, this attitude is extremely naïve and not far removed from collaboration, because it misjudges the realities within Iran and therefore poses a serious threat to Iranian civil society.
Karl Popper quotes this regime because it knows exactly how easily Europeans can be wrapped around their fingers.
To be clear, Arendt appears in Iran because Iran is not North Korea. Because as a regime you can shut down the internet, but you can’t isolate an ancient civilization from the modern world. Popper cites this regime because it knows well how easily Europeans and US Democrats can be fooled and fooled.
Deception is a type of Islamist doctrine. This is another reason why the Iranians so vehemently and clearly want to get rid of this dictatorship. They want to correct their historical mistake of 1979 and they want Iran to appear as a righteous, peaceful and progressive country.
The Revolutionary Guards must be drained financially
This rectification of the Islamic revolution will succeed if the Basij Revolutionary Guards and paramilitary militia lay down their arms and stop murdering innocent protesters. This will only happen voluntarily and it is part of the misjudgment of the author of these lines in 2009 that the Revolutionary Guards will change sides at some point. Too much blood they have shed, too much mischief they have done, and too much money at stake for them to develop a human conscience.
That is why political and financial sanctions are so important – these groups must have their sources of funding completely dried up and they must be continually isolated. Only when there is literally not a penny left will they stop shooting at their compatriots.
Of course, the Guards have long been culturally ostracized in Iranian society: a Persian culture that is so full of life and profound at the same time cannot do anything with Islamist superficialities.
The UN Human Rights Council is dysfunctional – you don’t have to call it
So what should the free world do now? First of all, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock deserves respect for speaking out so clearly in defense of women’s and human rights in the first days of the revolutionary developments – against the will of her hesitant apparatus.
The idea of bringing the murder of Jina Mahsa Amini before the UN Human Rights Council is laudable in theory, but in practice it is a dysfunctional forum for theater of the absurd with no right to sanction whatsoever. And that’s why you ask yourself: “Are you serious, Ms. Baerbock?”
The EU should at least withdraw its ambassadors from Tehran.
While summoning the Iranian ambassador was a good move, expelling him would be even better. One language the Islamic Republic understands is print. The timetable should include: an end to all negotiations as quickly as possible, the closure of all foreign representations of the regime and at least the withdrawal of all European ambassadors from Iran combined with tough economic sanctions.
Almost everything has been there before – we can take off our kid gloves with this Islamic regime, even if our politicians don’t want it at all. The turning point for Iran is more than overdue. And it has to come, because the protection of women’s and human rights is not a moral issue, but essentially has to do with security. A country that respects its own people does not commit external destabilization.
The end of political Islam in Iran also means calm in the four Arab capitals of Damascus, Beirut, Sanaa and Baghdad. Imagining this near future has nothing to do with visions or wishful thinking, but is realpolitik through and through.
The belief of Jake Sullivan, US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, that he can simultaneously demand human rights and negotiate with this regime is utopian. And it is a betrayal of the Iranians’ desire for freedom. The US Democrats have had a lot of experience with this since 2009, and it is ironic that a political actor like Donald Trump, of all people, has acted correctly several times with his tough stance on Iran.
The Biden government must now formulate a better Iran policy as soon as possible – also and precisely because this is a sensible government that has been capable of self-correction in supporting Ukraine and is doing a lot.
Ukraine as a young democracy and Iranian civil society on the road to freedom have much in common – both deserve the greatest possible political support. What is the world waiting for with Iran?
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