On Monday, the European Union decided to extend sanctions on Iran for another year over that nation’s human rights violations. On Saturday, the EU’s top foreign policy official will join a high-level delegation to visit Iran in a move hailed by Iran as an important event. Whether that’s a mixed message from the EU or the tempering of any show of European support for one of the world’s leaders in terrorism and human rights concerns, it’s happening all in one week.
The sanctions announcement came from the European Council stating that the sanctions for “human rights concerns” would be extended another year until mid-April 2017. These sanctions, originally enacted in 2011, apply to 82 people and one entity in Iran and according to the European Council website include asset freezes and travel bans, as well as restrictions on exports to Iran of “equipment which might be used for internal repression and of equipment for monitoring telecommunications.” The same day as that announcement, the Iranian Fars Agency promoted a visit this weekend by EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini and EU Commission members.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari told reporters that his nation is in a “new state of relations with the EU” following last year’s nuclear deal, according to Fars. Ansari was quoted as saying that the EU visit would include “serious talks” on political topics and more.
The irony behind the visit is that not only has Iran been engaging in troubling activity—including missile tests that garnered international condemnation—but the EU’s own human rights sanctions underline that despite the nuclear deal, all is not right in Tehran.
But it would appear, from the EU’s perspective, it’s right enough for a high-profile visit.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, April 11, 2016)