Josep Borrell, the chief diplomat of the European Union, finished his two-day trip to Tehran on Tuesday and declared that he will be heading to Washington on Friday. The Iranian regime, especially its president Hassan Rouhani, portrayed this trip as a last chance for the regime to strengthen its ties with Europe.
Of course, state-run media outlets with ties to Rouhani gave conflicting accounts of the trip. Arman Daily described Borrell’s visit as a “turning point in relations between Europe and Iran” while Jahan-e Sanat, also tied to Rouhani, described it as a “not so important a trip.”
The faction of Ali Khamenei, the regime’s supreme leader, interpreted Borrell’s visit as another piece of the maximum pressure puzzle being laid out by the U.S.
A state-run televised report described the trip as fruitless and said, “During the November unrests, the Europeans were like gasoline on the fires of the riots. They also didn’t share our grief for the death of Qassem Soleimani, and they justified his killing…” The same outlet said that Borrell has to convey the message to Europe and the U.S. that while the Europeans do not change their hypocritic policies, nothing will happen and the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will not be saved.
Given the regime’s nature, it was all but certain that the trip of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs would yield nothing. So, the question is, why do the mullahs insist on hosting European officials on their soil?
The goals of Borrell’s visit to Tehran
Borrell’s visit did not include any joint press conferences or joint statements. This only proves that the two sides did not reach any agreements. According to statements and remarks by Iranian officials and media outlets, Borrell’s visit aimed to save the nuclear deal. But at the same time, the EU diplomat had made it clear to regime officials that the three European signatories of the accord, France, UK, and Germany, were poised on continuing to pursue the JCPOA’s dispute mechanism following the regime neglection of its commitments under the accord.
According to the state-run Ebtekar newspaper, Borrell told regime officials that he is just a “coordinator” and the main decision will be made by the three European countries.
Why does the regime continue to host these meetings?
Borrell’s visit to Iran came at a time that Tehran is under severe pressure and is facing a serious existential crisis. On the one hand, the ruling mullahs are faced with continuous and intensifying uprisings and protests. The regime only managed to quell November’s nationwide protests through the use of sheer force and by brutally killing more than 1,500 protesters in the streets. But less than two months later, the people returned to the streets and chanted slogans that called for the overthrow of the regime.
At the same time, the regime is under increasing international pressure due to its violation of the nuclear deal, its terrorist meddling in neighboring countries and its funding of terrorist and fundamentalist groups in the region. In Iraq and Lebanon, two traditional strongholds of the Iranian regime, protesters are calling for an end to the influence of Tehran in their countries.
Meanwhile, the regime is under severe pressure from international sanctions, which are making it harder for Tehran to fund its illicit activities both at home and abroad. Under such circumstances, the regime needs any semblance of legitimacy it can muster. That’s why it invites Borrell to visit Tehran, even if it knows that the trip will yield no result.
Therefore, the regime is using the European Union as an excuse to legitimize and continue its crimes against the Iranian people and the people of the region.
While the evil intentions of the Iranian regime are clear, the question that remains is, how far are European diplomats willing to support this outdated and criminal regime? When are they going to say, enough is enough, we will no longer deal with the regime at the expense of the Iranian people? When are they going to listen to the cries of millions of Iranians who want democratic change in their country?
As Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said in a recent speech, “The world must support the legitimacy of the resistance waged by Iran’s rebellious youths against the ruthless Revolutionary Guards. It must recognize the struggle of the people of Iran to overthrow this regime. This is the same right stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the French Revolution, and in America’s Declaration of Independence. The people of Iran, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, have risen up and taken recourse ‘as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression.’ This right must be recognized.”