Last December, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran) reported that the International Trade Centre was supposed to hold a summit on the future potential for economic relations between Europe and Iran. But when the event was about to start, Iran decided to execute an opposition journalist who was kidnapped in Iraq after luring him there as part of a sting operation masquerading as a story lead. There was such a negative reaction to this execution that European attendees decided to withdraw, which led to the postponement of the event.
— The National (@TheNationalNews) December 15, 2020
Anyone who was following these developments noticed that the Europe-Iran Business Forum wasn’t canceled though, which suggests that Ruhollah Zam’s execution wasn’t really of much concern. The organizers of the event explicitly stated that they wanted “commercial exchanges” to occur with Iran. The date for the event has now been named which is between March 1st and 3rd. Those attending from the regime haven’t changed despite their likely involvement in the decision to execute Zam. Ostensibly the names included are Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and the EU’s head of foreign policy, Josep Borrell who have been given the status as keynote speakers.
The EU really wants to proceed as normal as it wants to keep its access to Iranian markets and not involve itself with the politics of the regime despite its bad name for human rights violations.
This sort of action isn’t supported by everyone and there are numerous European parliamentarians and former government officials who have made suggestions regarding relations with Iran after Zam’s execution. For example, Rik Daems, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe president suggested the following “any economic and trade relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran contingent on the improvement of the human rights situation in Iran and an end to the regime’s terrorism on European soil.”
(#PMOI/#MEK): Zam’s execution triggered condemnation from several European countries as well as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in #Iran and the Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions. #WeStand4FreeIran pic.twitter.com/IcPiDSYkqf
— MEK Iran (Mujahedin-e Khalq) (@MEK_Iran) December 24, 2020
Those who are critical of the Iranian regime signed a statement which stated the following: “for four decades, the Iranian regime has been brutally oppressing its people.” The whole situation regarding disregard for human rights has in recent years accelerated such as in November 2019 when Pro-democracy activists in Iran believed that authorities shot around 1,500 protesters during that particular uprising and arrested thousands more some of whom have been kept on death row.
Reuters confirmed in a special report on December 23, 2019, about the deadly crackdown on November nationwide protests in Iran the death toll of 1500 that was announced by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran) on December 15, 2019.
There were no less than 236 executions in 2020, and so far 27 have been confirmed from January onwards this year.
What has been of increasing concern for the regime is the popularity of the opposition. So much so that in June 2018, four Iranians which included a high-ranking diplomat from the Iranian embassy in Vienna were caught just about to bomb an expatriate rally in France that was attended by hundreds of political dignitaries spread throughout the world. The main goal was to silence the Resistance leader Maryam Rajavi.
However, it would probably have caused the deaths of many European politicians. In the end, the 4 Iranians were convicted of the attempted bombing, but this hasn’t stirred the Europe-Iran Business Forum to dissociate itself from the regime until security matters between European countries and Iran had been solved
20 former government officials from at least 12 European countries signed a statement which said “The activities of Iran’s embassies, religious and cultural centers need to be scrutinized and the diplomatic relations with Iran need to be downgraded and return to normal diplomatic relations [needs to] be subject to Iran packing-up its terrorist apparatus in Europe and giving assurances that it will never engage in terrorism in Europe again.”
If the Business Forum still goes ahead with its meeting the Iranian regime will assume that any other statements made aren’t important and it will do nothing about its human rights violations.