“The Iranian mirage” – El Mundo

AVQ-El MundoThe High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union Policy, Federica Mogherini, has repeatedly expressed her satisfaction over recent weeks with the new climate of relations between Europe and the Islamic Republic of Iran created after the signature of the nuclear agreement. According to the seraphic vision of the Vice President of the Commission, it is now possible a constructive dialogue with the Iranian regime through which interesting possibilities for cooperation in the fields of energy security, clean energy, energy efficiency, transport, financial services, infrastructure, telecommunications, research, education and tourism can open. Also, always from this optimistic viewpoint, the Ayatollahs in Tehran must have an important and constructive role in bringing peace to Syria and in fighting against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. In her recent visit to Iran, accompanied by seven Commissioners, the High Representative was seen on photographs in which she was seen fraternizing smiling and satisfied with top leaders of the Khomeinist theocracy.

However, all those who, like Federica Mogherini, rush to travel to Iran to try to get succulent contracts and win the ruling clerics as strategic allies in the Middle East, forget some facts that should make them more cautious in their expectations, and more decorous in their gestures. Since the nuclear agreement was signed, internal repression by the regime on its own citizens not only has not subsided, but has escalated to startling extremes. Last year in Iran a thousand prisoners went to the gallows, the largest number in the world except for China and twice as much as in 2010, political dissidents, social activists, members of ethnic or religious minorities or drug traffickers. Very few of them had access to lawyers and the courts that sentenced them and sent them to the gallows systematically admitted confessions extracted under torture. The crimes for which they have been hung respond to vague charges such as “enmity to God,” “spreading corruption on earth” or “effective collaboration” with opposition groups such as the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan or the National Council of the Iranian Resistance. Iran executes prisoners who committed their alleged crimes when they were minors and there are currently 160 young offenders in the death row of Iranian prisons. The humiliations and outrages committed against women for being on the street with an improper veiling are continuous and recently the government has deployed 7,000 religious plainclothes police to spy on the population at the exit of supermarkets, cinemas, leisure centers, schools or parks and to proceed to summon them for “improper behaviour” under the light of the sadistic and rigid interpretation of Islam of the flamboyant friends of the High Representative and various EU governments. Without going any further, on the same days that Mogherini was in Tehran in mid-April, 10 people were hanged, including two women. This coincidence does not seem to alter her jovial attitude toward her hosts.

As for the situation in Syria, the Iranian regime is the firmest support that Assad has, a tyrant who has murdered 200,000 of his countrymen without forgoing the use of chemical weapons. Shiite militias under Iranian sponsorship -with outstanding participation of Hezbollah- and thousands of troops of the Revolutionary Guard -the military elite corps of the Islamic Republic- are engaged in regular massacres of the Sunni population of Syria and Iraq, creating a favorable ground for the establishment of the Islamic State. If instead of the criminal Caliphate of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi we give the region to the butcher Caliphate of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei I doubt that the operation is wise.

Another hoax is that in the Iranian regime there are “moderate” and “conservative” forces, headed respectively by President Rouhani and the Supreme Leader Khamenei. As in any totalitarian system, different factions dispute for power and have tactical differences, but in the end they all share identical imperialist purposes, the use of terrorism as a political instrument, fanatical religious intransigence, the will of reaching political hegemony over the Muslim Umma and atavistic hatred to the West. If the High Representative and her colleagues bothered to read the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its disturbing worldview, probably they would moderate their enthusiasm when closing ties with the sinister rulers of ancient Persia.

The voluntarist belief in an Iranian regime turned good and willing to cooperate fairly with the European Union and willing to gradually evolve towards a more open and enlightened society is a dangerous mirage that can lead to serious errors. If sanctions and strong diplomatic pressure forced the ayatollahs to sit at the table of nuclear negotiations, fearing the economic collapse that threatened their country and their own survival, it doesn’t seems advisable to replace strong incentives that have proven their effectiveness with a naive faith on the good will of interlocutors with a dense record of mendacity, of closed-mindedness and structural violence. The aftermath of the second Iraq war has been disastrous, Iraq and Syria are today failed states, hundreds of thousands of victims have died; millions of refugees rush to our borders and all this as the result of a misperception of the geostrategic scenario established 23 years ago. History can be useful to learn from it, but we must know how to understand its lessons.