On March 1, the Iran-Europe prospects for economic relations summit, hosted by the International Trade Centre, will begin, following the postponement from December.
Why was the event postponed? Unlike most things postponed in 2020, the answer is surprisingly not the pandemic.
The reason is that Iran executed French resident and journalist Ruhollah Zam after luring him to Iraq under the false pretence of a story and kidnapping him. At that point, just days before the event was due to start, European participants began withdrawing and the event was postponed officially.
Now, if you’re wondering why they would still hold the event two-and-a-half months later and questioning how serious the EU’s condemnation of this politically-motivated execution was, hold on tight, because that is only the start.
Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi was found guilty of terrorism in a Belgian court this month and sentenced to 20 years in prison for attempting to blow up a Free Iran rally in France in 2018, with the intention of killing opposition leader Maryam Rajavi and as many more people as was possible. At the rally, Rajavi was surrounded by hundreds of dignitaries from across the world and tens of thousands of Iranian Resistance supporters.
Assadi commanded three operatives in this attack, which Belgian prosecutors said was directed by the ruling mullahs, including Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, but stands accused of running a terror network across Europe based on evidence found in his car by German police upon his arrest.
Given this, why would Europe hold any summit with Iran, let alone one where Zarif is a keynote speaker alongside EU foreign policy head Josep Borrell
The Resistance wrote: “It could hardly be clearer that for many leading policymakers, the issue with the originally scheduled event was not its invitation to open dialogue with a world-leading human rights abuser but rather its proximity to the most recent and most internationally recognized such abuse. The new date for the summit simply reflects an assumption that the dust has settled enough for the EU to carry on with business as usual in hopes of retaining access to Iranian markets and avoiding the political challenge of confronting Iran’s theocratic regime.”
Many lawmakers across Europe have urged the EU to abandon the summit and make all relations with Iran contingent on the ending of Iranian terrorism in Europe and the improvement of the human rights situation. They’ve also argued for scrutiny of Iran’s embassies and cultural institutions.
The Resistance wrote: “If the Business Forum goes forward under current circumstances, it will only inspire a stronger sense of impunity among Iranian authorities by giving them the impression that the EU intends to pursue Iranian trade relations without prior conditions.”