'If you look the other way, they'll kill us': is the European Union failing the people of Iran?
Created: 12/29/2022, 8:55 am
By: Anna-Katharina Ahnefeld
The people of Iran are dying to live in freedom.
But the world's attention is on other trouble spots.
Is the EU doing enough to help the protesters?
Brussels – The European Union is struggling with multiple crises.
Russia's war, the climate and energy crisis, inflation and a corruption scandal in its own ranks are driving Brussels in front of it.
The fact that Iran is protesting against the government and cracking down on the demonstrators is nothing new.
From September 16, 2022, Western observers initially assumed that things would not be different this time either.
Instead, September 16, the death of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini, marks a turning point.
A few days after the Kurd died of severe head injuries from police violence, a new movement emerged.
Since then, "Women, Life, Freedom" has been heard on the streets of Iran, in the diaspora and on social media.
Amini was a wife, a sister, a daughter.
Many Iranians can identify with the new movement.
And while people were already dying for their right to freedom, the West needed time to understand the dimension - and to react.
In contrast to previous protests like 2009, when mainly the middle class took to the streets, and 2019, when they protested against a gas price hike, it is now a heterogeneous movement.
It is led by a young generation that seems ready for anything and is explicitly aimed at the religious leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
Green MEP Hannah Neumann is watching the events closely.
“In Iran there has long been a struggle over who actually decides how religiosity is lived.
Many people are religious, but do not share the coercion demanded by the Revolutionary Guards.
They want to wear their headscarf - or they don't.
They no longer want to accept that someone tells them how they have to live,” she tells IPPEN.MEDIA's
protests in Iran
On September 16, 2022, Jina Mahsa Amini was arrested in Tehran by the so-called moral police.
The 22-year-old's hijab is said to have slipped.
A few hours later she is taken to a hospital with severe head injuries - and dies.
Since then, people in Iran have been walking under the motto “Woman.
Freedom” on the streets and protest against the Islamic Republic.
They are fighting for nothing less than the overthrow of the government.
According to human rights organizations, more than 500 people have been killed by security forces since the start of the mass protests, many of them children.
More than 18,000 protesters are said to have been arrested.
Prominent faces such as the internationally renowned actress Taraneh Alidoosti are also among them.
Iran: Revolt after the death of Jina Mahsa Amini – EU sanctions against mullah regime so far ineffective
The mullahs' regime is crushing the protests with the fury of a wounded animal.
And the brutal crackdown on demonstrations is beginning to have an effect.
Far fewer people have been taking to the streets for a long time.
Two young demonstrators were publicly executed after show trials for “waging war against God”; numerous others, some of them minors, also face the death penalty.
The EU took this as an opportunity to tighten the thumbscrews again and impose sanctions on 20 members of the management level.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell described the measures as a "very, very tough package of sanctions".
Even before the current protest movement, the West had imposed numerous sanctions on Iran, particularly with a view to Iran's nuclear program.
More sanctions packages have been enacted since Amini's death.
However, it is also true that the EU's punitive measures against Iran have so far seemed ineffective.
However, Green Party politician Neumann is critical of a further tightening of economic and financial sanctions: "Even more economic sanctions will primarily affect the people who are currently on the street." But what then?
“Put many more Revolutionary Guards actors on the sanctions list.
But above all: increase the rhetoric again, call for an end to the executions and pay our attention to what is happening in the country,” demands the 38-year-old.
Instagram channel, the peace and conflict researcher has received a lot of encouragement for her commitment to Iran.
People comment on their posts with statements like: "You speak like us" and "Be our voice".
The response shows how much people long for the attention of the West, says Neumann.
Europe's focus is on Ukraine - but the people of Iran need attention as well
But it is also true that Europe has its own problems at the moment.
Neumann: “The focus is clearly Russia's war in Ukraine.
Of course there are people within the EU who are concerned with the current situation in Iran.
But it took a while for the EU institutions to wake up and understand that something very important is happening, that we cannot stay out or hold back.” In view of this, the demand to take a closer look no longer sounds like symbolic politics.
"People in Iran, on the streets, say: If you look the other way, they'll kill us," says Neumann.
That is why she is also counting on the solidarity between the European Union and the United Nations.
Air alert in Ukraine - heavy explosions in Kyiv
Pope Benedict "very ill": health is deteriorating - details from Vatican circles known
Putin cancels trip at short notice – the Kremlin's reasoning arouses suspicion
Putin propagandists want to "strike" against Germany - "I'm deadly serious"
Macabre "special offer" from Putin?
According to insiders, Russian recruits can go to the sperm bank for free
Fancy a journey of discovery?
Freedom” – this is the slogan under which the people of Iran are demonstrating against the Mullah regime.
© Ximena Borrazas/dpa
Because with a – first-time – special session on Iran, the international organization, to which 193 states belong, has now taken a historic step and passed a UN resolution.
An independent investigation is to document violations of human rights in Iran and collect evidence.
One day those responsible could be held accountable.
This was the first time in 43 years of the Islamic Republic that human rights violations were publicly condemned by the United Nations - and the focus of world public opinion turned to Iran.
In a world of multiple crises, attention is hard currency.