European Union and Iran

The European Union confronted with its founding principles

regarding the conflict with Iran

Didier Bertin - July 28, 2019

I- The founding principles of the European Union

Out of the horror of the Second World War the enemies of yesterday had wanted to begin a gradual rapprochement in order not to repeat the painful experiences of the past. The rapprochement was first economic and has expanded to a growing number of European countries. The decline in the importance of national borders for the circulation of goods was the forerunner of the free movement of persons, which led to the harmonization of their fundamental rights.

Starting from a group of small countries whose size was no longer suited to major global challenges, the European Union (EU) which has to compete with the hegemonic nations and has tried to become a kind of large nation. Chaotic harmonization and the desire to grow by the accumulating too many countries that did not share the same aspirations, eventually led to an overall deterioration.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights was initially a beautiful ethical reference and its application has even become "in principle" obligatory, whereas in fact some Member States have been exempted from it and its application has generally been left to the discretion of the national courts. The lack of determination has allowed some member states to become dictatorships while remaining within the EU and has generated Brexit and the rise of populist regimes that could lead to the implosion of the EU.

The EU's leaders are France and Germany, but the latter has become politically unstable. The EU does not really have an army except that of France (since the UK is on the way out), has no internal humanitarian policy sufficiently clear since it tolerates dictatorships within it and its international politics is too often ambiguous and even deplorable (for example in the former Yugoslavia or Rwanda). Since many years the Iranian dictatorship deprives the Iranian people of freedom and threatens that of peoples of countries where it intends to export its ideology and fight. Faced with this source of danger, the EU has chosen its traditional procrastination.

II - Iran

1-Outcome to the Islamic revolution

The Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi had authoritatively led Iran towards Westernization and economic development. As part of its white revolution the Shah had wanted to modernize agricultural structures and also emancipate women but this had been considered by the religious leaders as a crime against the Law of God. The ceremonies honoring Persian pre-Islamic civilization had also been considered a provocation for the leaders of Islam. His most combative opponent, Ayatollah Rouholla Khomeini had been pushed into exile that lasted 14 years in Iraq and one year in France. In Iraq Ayatollah Khomeini was forced to restrain his action but from France he was able to propagate in Iran a radical and violent thought.

From 1973 Iran's oil revenues were boosted by the Shah, but this policy ceased to be effective in 1975 following the fall of the dollar and the contraction in demand. The fall in oil revenues has called into question the great projects of the Shah and the financial situation of Iran; as a result the purchasing power and unemployment figures had substantially deteriorated threatening the Shah's regime in 1978. The Shah weakened by cancer since 1974, left Iran in January 1979.

In February 1979, the void left by the departure of the Shah was filled by the return of Ayatollah Khomeini to set up his project of Islamic Republic of which the negative consequences have not ceased till today to be felt in Iran and in the countries where Iran would like to export its revolution.

2-Evolution of the Iranian population

The population in Iran amounted to 33.71 million (1976) at the time of the revolution and reached in 2018, 81.8 million out of which 61.85 million are between 0 and 44 years old and this means that 75.6% of the population was not born or were very young children at the time of the Islamic revolution. The current regime is therefore imposed by force to a population that has never really chosen it. Moreover during the Revolution 55% of the inhabitants lived outside the cities where it had more influence whereas today 75% of the population is urban.

The growing discontent of the population and in particular that of the new generations and women is due among others to its renewal. The EU because of its supposed democratic principles should have been particularly attentive to the aspirations of the Iranian people and to the danger that Iran represents beyond its borders.

III - Iran's provocations against its population, the countries of the Middle East and the Western world and the hesitating reaction of the European Union

1-The dual political system of Iran guarantees for the moment the durability of the Islamic dictatorship

The existence of a parallel system led by the Supreme Leader of the Revolution supported by the Revolutionary Guards and by the Revolutionary Courts locks all democratic expression and the effective power is always kept by the Islamic authorities who perpetuate the Ayatollah Khomeini's regime.

Iran is therefore a dictatorship, and this is corroborated by Amnesty International's many reports: "Amnesty International ranks Iran among the two countries having the highest number of people condemned to death penalty. According to international human rights organizations, torture and rape by Revolutionary Guards occur regularly. Amnesty International says there is no freedom of expression in Iran. "

2-The revolution in Iran is also based on the idea of ​​its spread beyond its borders

The Iranian revolution is also based on the idea of ​​its spread beyond its borders and therefore Iran intervenes to exacerbate hostilities in many countries.

• Iran supports Hezbollah in Lebanon and helps to disrupt the country. This support is materialized by sending sophisticated weapons, specialist advisers and Revolutionary Guards in large number.

• Iran has relations with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza despite their belonging to Sunni Islam in order to surround Israel between Lebanon, Syria and Gaza; the target of this strategy is the destruction of Israel which is part of the principles of the Iranian Revolution.

• The organization of Iran in Near East has thus three objectives:

-the destruction of Israel

-the control of Lebanon

-the support of the dictatorial regime of Bashar El Assad

Anti-Semitism is also a principle of the Iranian regime which has been shown among others by the huge attempt against the Jewish organization Amia in Buenos Aires which killed 85 persons in 1994. Anti-Semitism is regularly mentioned by the Iranian regime.

The destruction of Israel is explicitly expressed by Iran trough Hezbollah which threatens to send missiles all over Israel. At any moment Iran may provoke a large-scale conflict in the whole Middle East. This would involve the US intervention leading to a more generalized conflict with heavy consequences for the western world.

In addition, Iran is dangerously increasing tension with Saudi Arabia and the Emirates and supports the Houthi rebels in Yemen against Saudi Arabia.

3- Interest of possession of a nuclear weapon for a dictatorship

Iran's oil reserves are estimated at 133 billion barrels, or about 80 years of consumption. The diversification of Iran's resources is therefore far from being a priority given its urgent economic needs. The possession of nuclear weapon would ensure the survival of the dictatorship and its policy of nuisance inside and outside Iran. For example, the various nuclear and hydrogen weapons tests in North Korea might dissuade democratic countries to intervene and free the North Korean people.

Nuclear weapon is therefore undoubtedly the first target of the Iranian regime, which is far from worrying about the diversification of resources for ecological purposes. The nuclear weapon is supposed only dissuasive in the hands of responsible countries but not for dictatorships which may utilize it in order to try to survive. While Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon, the country is already blackmailing the western countries by increasing uranium enrichment expressing thus the wish to build a nuclear weapon. If Iran had a nuclear weapon its threat would be its utilization. Negotiating with a dictatorship the authorization to produce a hazardous product is irresponsible.

4-Maritime traffic in the Strait of Ormuz

I addition to the above mentioned blackmail, Iran is currently achieving war acts against EU by hacking free navigation in the Strait of Ormuz.

The United Kingdom enforced in July 2019 the sanctions taken by the EU against the Syrian regime by seizing an Iranian oil tanker intending to deliver oil to Syria. Iran in retaliation also seized a British tanker (Stena Impero) and then a second quickly released. Few days later Iran tried again to seize another tanker (British Heritage) but was prevented to do it by the British navy. In order to deliver oil to the regime of Bashar El Assad, Iran is thus ready to commit acts of war against the EU and impede freedom of movement in the Strait of Ormuz which constitutes a serious infringement regarding maritime laws. The protection of each ship by the Navy is not a satisfactory solution since it is a treatment of symptoms without caring of their origin.

IV -Conclusion

The lack of determination of the EU stimulates Iran's bellicose nature and may possibly lead to a general conflict in the Middle East. The EU, which is losing credibility, needs to be firmer against tyrannical regimes, starting with deviant member States and continuing in the frame of a responsible international policy including an adequate action to prevent the degeneration of local conflicts into large scale or international conflicts.

The first victims of the Iranian regime are the Iranians who for the most part are suffering from the dictatorial Islamic regime that they never chose. Iran is supporting the development of terrorism and is openly trying to destabilize the Middle East regimes and destroy Israel; Iran want to export its revolution abroad and this will damage the situation of western countries. Iran did not wait to hold a nuclear weapon to begin with nuclear blackmail in using the argument of increasing uranium enrichment which is the way leading to nuclear weapons.