As the Iranian regime attempts to keep the European Union engaged, the EU wants to have an office in Tehran from which it can monitor the human rights situation in the country.
Supreme Leader Khamenei vehemently opposes the idea of such an office, according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
Falahatpishe, the chief of the security and foreign affairs commission in the Iranian parliament, said after meeting with foreign minister Javad Zarif on October 21st, “In two days the document related to the economic relations between Iran and Europe after the US left JCPOA should be ready and we are waiting to receive this document.” He also announced that Europe’s financial special purpose vehicle will be finalized before November 4th. But, his skepticism was evident when he said, “We believe that Europeans have the necessary resolve to maintain the JCPOA and give a positive response to Iran’s engagement politics, but we still need to wait and see how much power they have,” and added, “Unfortunately, the type of behavior we witnessed in small and large European companies and even banks shows that they don’t have the necessary power for a confrontation.”
Iran Regime President Rouhani’s chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, referred to a developing cooperation with the European Union, saying, “Especially in the current climate, we have made some arrangements with the EU in regards to JCPOA.” He added that, “the opening of EU’s office can be beneficial for our economic cooperation with the union.”
Opponents of the plan are concerned. The Mashreq website writes, “Mr. Vaezi! The European Union wants the office for infiltration and sabotage.”
Proponents of EU’s plan to circumvent the new sanctions have their doubts about its effectiveness. Fararu website quotes Beheshtipur, a pundit allied with Rouhan, who doesn’t believe that Europe will save Iran’s economy.
“I think, what Iran and Europe intend to do is sort of a shoestring channel for trading. In fact, Europe is very much tied-hands when it comes to doing much for Iran… We need also consider Europe’s ability, capacity, and situation,” he said.
Sources close to Rouhani call it “shoestring”, while Khamenei’s faction calls it a “damaging” relation.
More importantly to the regime, is the fact of a European office for monitoring the human rights situation. For at least 20 years, Iran has not allowed any reporter or monitoring team on human rights issues to enter the country.
Iran’s former ambassador to Italy and Afghanistan, Abolfazl Zohrevand, said, “Now by opening an office the EU is sending an ambassador to our country who has no embassy and yet can report about us in terms of human rights issues.” He adds that, “we have problems with the EU in normal circumstances, especially with regards to the JCPOA. They are following and advancing their policies in Tehran and by opening this office we are actually empowering them to do so… This is a pressure on us and puts us in a position of answering to questions.”The Iranian regime may hope for relief to make up for decades of economic mismanagement, and decrease the rising discontent and popular uprisings, but they fear losing their oppressive structure and ability to crack down on popular discontent.