European Governments Under Pressure To More Forcefully Back Iranian Protesters

Europe 'has succumbed to the bullying trait of the Islamic regime,' activists say

Iranian protesters, French president Emmanuel Macron, and German chancellor Olaf Scholz / edited from Reuters
November 3, 2022

As Iranian protesters are killed and imprisoned by their hardline government, Iranian advocacy groups accuse European governments of turning a blind eye to a protest movement that threatens to topple the Islamic Republic.

"Many European leaders by looking the other way [have] succumbed to the bullying trait of the Islamic regime in Tehran," a coalition of Iranian advocacy groups wrote in a letter sent Wednesday to leading European governments and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. "Your years of silence and appeasement policy [have] empowered the nefarious Islamic leadership in Tehran to openly admit to its role in providing Russia with suicide drones to target civilians in Ukraine."

The letter is meant to serve as a wake-up call to European governments that have largely sat on the sidelines as Iranian protesters risk their lives to press for the Islamic Republic's dissolution. Hundreds of Iranians have been murdered by the hardline regime's security forces, and around 14,000 have been imprisoned, in the month since protesters began taking to the streets following the brutal murder of a young woman who wore her head covering improperly. Since that incident, the protest movement has grown into a referendum on the Iranian government, leading the regime to murder protesters.

While world leaders have broadly condemned the Iranian regime's tactics, few have taken concrete action, such as increasing sanctions on the hardline government. European leaders, in particular, have avoided getting involved in the conflict due to fears the Iranian regime will start wreaking havoc in their backyards. The activist groups, led by Iranian Americans for Liberty, a U.S.-based organization, say Europe's appeasement policy toward Tehran must end.

"European governments have been far too complacent about the nefarious actions of the Islamic Republic regime, both domestically and internationally," wrote the groups, which include the European Iranian Association for Peace and Friendship, the Council of Iranian Canadians, and the Persian American Civic Action Network. The letter was sent to the European Parliament and the leaders of Italy, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

"In the face of this blatant violation of international treaties, European governments have thus far exercised reluctance to hold the Islamic regime accountable," the groups wrote. "Europe suffers from a lack of strategic vision and lucid policy to restore international order. It is vitally urgent to bring this vision back in focus."

The activists called on these European leaders to halt all trade with Iran and issue a "comprehensive regime of sanctions against not just regime officials, since they are interchangeable, but the entirety of the regime."

Iran, the activist groups said, should be treated like its ally Russia, which has been hit with a bevy of sanctions since it invaded Ukraine.

"Given the strategic alliance between Russia and Iran, we believe Europe must treat them with the same set of policies and extend its sweeping regime of sanctions and boycott of Russia to the Islamic Republic," the groups wrote.

Such a move, they said, "will send a strong signal to the Islamic Republic regime that it is no longer tolerated as [a] member of the international community, and it is time for it to let go of power and allow the people of Iran to elect their own leaders."

Zohreh Mizrahi, a member of the Persian American Civic Action Network, told the Free Beacon that U.S. and European governments are allowing the Iranian regime to maintain control over the country.

"The misguided policies of the U.S. administrations, whether Democrats or Republicans, or the European governments, insisting on treating the mafia-style leadership in Tehran as a normal government, emboldened this nefarious regime to further brutalize its own citizens while financing terrorism around the world," Mizrahi said. "This epical bravery demonstrated by the youths in Iran will not cease nor waver, so the leadership of the free world must recognize and respect Iranian determination to reclaim their own destiny in living life in liberty and freedom."