Tag Archives: Iran

The EU Sanctions on Iran – the Legal Background

We all know that the EU has imposed stricter sanctions on Iran than provided for in the United Nations Security Council resolution 1929 (2010). It is interesting, though, to consider the legal background of this measure.

The new sanctions are imposed with a Council decision based on art. 29 TEU. The decision prohibits the supply, sale or transfer to Iran of further items, materials, equipment, goods and technology, in addition to those determined by the Security Council or the Committee, that could contribute to Iran’s enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water- related activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems. The decision imposes restrictions on financial transactions to and from Iran, freezing of funds, as well as inspections on all Iranian cargo and admission restrictions for certain individuals.

Achievements and Omissions in the European Council Conclusions on the EU Economy

I’ll make an attempt to list the achievements and the omissions in the European Council conclusions from the meeting on the 17 June 2010 on the EU economy.

Achievements:

The Europe 2020 Strategy – it is supposed to promote a series of reforms aimed at competitiveness and employment, placing research and development at the centre of economic initiatives for the next decade. The aim is to raise to 75% the employment rate for women and men aged 20-64, raising combined public and private investment levels in research and development to 3% of GDP, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, reducing school drop-out rates to less than 10%, and aiming to lift at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and exclusion.

Economic governance – explicit objective for strengthening both the preventive and corrective arms of the Stability and Growth Pact; introducing the concept of dynamic debt; a scoreboard to better assess competitiveness developments and imbalances and allowing for an early detection of unsustainable or dangerous trends; publication of results of ongoing stress tests by banking supervisor; introduction of systems of levies and taxes on financial institutions to ensure fair burden-sharing and to set incentives to contain systemic risk.

Iceland – start of accession negotiations.

Estonia – adoption of the euro on 1 January 2011.

Iran – new sanctions based on UN Security Council Resolution 1929.

Omissions – the European Council failed to produce any specific measures on dealing with growth imbalances and actual, serious fiscal policy coordination. In other words the European Council delayed taking painful decisions on the future of economic governance in the European Union, while setting strategic objectives that may or may not produce effective results.

Freedom for Iran!

“Where liberty is, there is my country”

Benjamin Franklin

The people of Iran are obviously not happy with its current government, and they protest. The Iranian government has in response arrested, tortured, raped and killed protesters in order to scare the population.

I categorically protest against this unlawful, inhuman and debasing treatment of Iranian citizens. I fully align with the position of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy saying that the Iranians “deserve better”.

Only 20 years ago my own country was on the brink of a transformation. Bulgaria was a grim place where the oppressive regime had a tight grip on each and every citizen, instilling fear and mistrust. Even today there are still people in Bulgaria dreaming of a “strong hand” in government. That is why I know how precious and fragile democracy is.

Iran Cancels MEP Visit

The European Parliament delegation for relations with Iran has voiced surprise at the last-minute cancellation by Iranian authorities of the EP delegation’s visit to Tehran, which was to take place later this week.

The visit was criticized in advance by a group of 15 U.S. House members – both Democrats and Republicans.

Negotiations with Iran – E3+3 or P5+1 or?

Joshua Keating talks about the name of the negotiations format that includes the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia, and Germany. One way to call it has been P5+1 (permanent members of the UN Security Council + Germany). Another way is to count E3+3 (three European countries plus the others).

Keating doesn’t like the new acronym, but he apparently misses a point here. The thing is, Mr. Javier Solana (High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union) will also attend. And, oh, he did arrange the meeting itself.

So it might not be that bad to put an emphasis on Europe, this time.

Why Attend Ahmadinejad’s Inauguration?

The protests after the presidential elections in Iran have somewhat subsided. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in as the elected President of Iran. But why did EU ambassadors attend the ceremony?

The Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, says that there are many reasons – that this is the custom; that attending diplomats are always better reporters than absent ones; and that the EU needs contact on specific issues with the authorities in Tehran.

Iran Contemplates on Negotiation Eligibility

Iran’s military chief of staff Major-General Hassan Firouzabadi has said that the alleged “interference” of European Union Member States in the riots following the June presidential election means the bloc has “lost its qualification to hold nuclear talks.”

I have already noted the problem of using diplomatic missions for helping protesters.

This argument, however, goes to a different level of reasoning.

The “qualification” to participate in talks has to do with one’s legal status, not with one’s actions. It is useless to try and disguise political statements behind some international public law nonsense.

But another question arises – is EU’s “Iran fantasy” now over?

Should EU Member States’ Embassies Help Iranian Protestors?

EUobserver reports that Italy had instructed its embassy in Tehran to provide humanitarian aid to wounded protesters, pending a coordinated response from all EU countries. Austria has also instructed its embassy to provide first aid to protestors. But Sweden – which is about to take over the EU presidency – said it cannot grant asylum to refugees. Belgium also thinks that it should not allow refugees on the territory of its embassy.

France and Finland have also called for a common EU approach on how to deal with refugees and asylum seekers.

In the same time the Iranian government has accused the UK and France in meddling with the crisis.

What should EU governments do? From a diplomatic and consular law perspective – nothing. They should not use embassies in such a way that can infringe article 41, of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations – containing a duty a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of the receiving state.

However, the EU can do a lot by working with the US, China, Russia, and other stakeholders to contain Iran, as claims François Godement from the European Council on Foreign Relations. A team of experts from RAND Corporation also believes that a concerted, multilateral approach is needed to manage the Iranian threat. This also implies a common European approach to Iran for a change.