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.