Can the EU Be Induced to Abandon Its Craven Attitude toward Iran?

Jan. 12 2018

As much as the leaders of the European Union and its individual member states are fond of talking about human rights, they have been reluctant to express any sympathy for Iranian protestors. Benjamin Weinthal and Saba Farzan suggest that Washington pressure them to respond not just in word but in deed:

The EU’s chief diplomat, Federica Mogherini, who was in Cuba to promote better relations with the Communist dictatorship, waited a week before wading gingerly into the subject of the Islamic Republic’s violent repression of peaceful protests. Thus far at least 21 people [had] been murdered by the security apparatus, and more than 2,000 people imprisoned. The real numbers are certainly higher, hidden by the regime’s restrictions on press freedom.

Mogherini bemoaned the “unacceptable loss of life,” but her nebulous statement did not pin the blame on the perpetrators of the killings: the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its . . . subsidiary, the Basij militia.

While there exists a sizable divide between the EU and the U.S. over Iran policy, the U.S. government has considerable economic leverage available to influence a change in EU behavior. The U.S. Treasury Department last week imposed new sanctions on Iranian entities for their involvement in Tehran’s illicit missile program. The U.S. could raise the stakes and impose secondary sanctions on European banks and companies involved with Iran’s banks, including its powerful central bank, and with the IRGC. European countries wish to protect their businesses operating in the Islamic Republic and their credit-insurance availability. . . .

[In addition], the EU should [be encouraged to] ramp up human-rights sanctions targeting the Iranian regime’s perpetrators of violence during the current protests. . . . “Whenever there is a human-rights issue, or a human-rights violation, we Europeans feel we must do something, and we do something,” Mogherini said weeks before the protests unfolded in Iran.

America should demand that Mogherini and her associates put their money where their mouths are.

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Read more at New York Daily News

More about: European Union, Human Rights, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

While Pursuing a Thaw with Israel, Saudi Arabia Foments Anti-Semitism at Home

July 18 2018

For the better part of this century, Jerusalem and Riyadh have cooperated clandestinely to contain Iran’s growing power. The kingdom has also increasingly aimed its diplomatic and propaganda efforts against Qatar, whose funding of Islamist groups—including Hamas—has damaged both Saudi Arabia and Israel. But, writes Edy Cohen, there’s a dark side to Riyadh’s efforts against the enemies of the Jewish state:

The [Saudi cyberwarfare agency’s] Twitter account tweets daily, mostly against Qatar and Iran. It uses anti-Semitic terminology, referring to Qatar as “Qatariel,” a portmanteau of Qatar and Israel, and claiming the [Qatar-sponsored] Al Jazeera network “belongs to the Israeli Mossad.”

“‘The deal of the century’ is a Qatari scheme to sell Palestine to the Zionist entity,’” one tweet reads, while another alleges that the “Zionist” Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the father of [Qatar’s ruler] Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is scheming to divide the Arab states to fulfill the dreams of the “Zionist entity” and Iran. Yet another tweet alleges that Qatar is “trying to destroy the Arab world to serve the enemies of the Muslim world: Israel and Iran.” These statements penetrate deep into the Arab consciousness and increase existing hatred toward Jews and Israel.

The Saudis, then, are playing a double game. Behind the scenes, they send the Israelis the message that Iran is a common enemy and goad them to fight Iran and Hizballah. At home, however, they say the enemy is first and foremost the state of Israel, followed by Iran. Their formula is clear: covert ties with Israel coupled with overt hostility to the Jewish state to satisfy the people, a majority of whom hate Israel.

The Saudi double game is reminiscent of the Egyptian model under President Gamal Abdel Nasser in that dozens of anti-Semitic articles are published daily, while the Israeli populace is not exposed to the phenomenon and the politicians close their ears. Following the signing of the 1994 Oslo Accords, the Palestinians asked Israel for permission to incite “moderately” against the Jewish state for “domestic needs.” This incitement turned deadly and was used as live ammunition for the boycott, sanctions, and divestment movement (BDS). We must not give in and accept the incitement against us, and that is also true when Saudi Arabia is concerned. Incitement translates into action, and that action comes at a price.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israel & Zionism, Qatar, Saudi Arabia