FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai is calling for a tougher course in dealing with those in power in Tehran because of the violence against demonstrators in Iran that has been going on for a month. "The EU must now finally develop a new Iran strategy. The imposition of personal sanctions against representatives of the regime is necessary and desirable, but must not be the end of concrete measures," said Djir-Sarai of the German Press Agency.
In his words, the EU should above all ask itself whether it still makes sense to continue the talks on the nuclear agreement with Iran under these circumstances. "Holding negotiations with a regime that has dramatically lost the legitimacy of its own people is hardly justifiable," said Djir-Sarai, who himself comes from Iran. And: "In talks with Iran, the EU must give human rights issues the same importance as the conclusion of the nuclear deal."
Iran criticizes the EU
Iran, on the other hand, has criticized the European Union for its stance on the ongoing protests in the country. "Unrest, arson and terrorist operations no longer have anything to do with peaceful protests," said Foreign Minister Hussein Amirabdollahian in a phone call with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, according to the Foreign Ministry's website. The Iranian chief diplomat therefore called the police operations against the protests absolutely legitimate. The EU should not use these incidents as an excuse to put pressure on Iran, he warned.
In this case, observers expect an end to the EU efforts to save the Vienna nuclear deal of 2015. Then the end of the Iran sanctions, because of which the oil-rich country has been in an acute economic crisis for almost four years, would also be off the table. After the protests and violent clashes between police and demonstrators over the past four weeks, this crisis has worsened.
Biden: End violence against citizens
US President Joe Biden is calling on the Iranian leadership not to use violence against the protests in the country. "Iran must end violence against its own citizens who are simply exercising their basic rights," said Biden during a performance in the city of Irvine, California on Friday (local time). Women and men should have the right to freedom of expression and association, Biden said. And women "should - for God's sake - be able to wear what they want," he said. "No one should tell them what to wear."
In Iran, people have been taking to the streets for weeks. The protests were triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in mid-September. The moral police had arrested her because of her alleged "un-Islamic outfit". What happened to Amini after that is unclear. The woman fell into a coma and died in a hospital on September 16. Critics accuse the morality police of using violence; the police deny it. Since the woman's death, thousands have been demonstrating across the country against the government's repressive course and the headscarf requirement.
Biden was impressed by the scale of the protests triggered by Amini's death. "It triggered something that I don't think will be settled for a long, long time," he said.