Iran-Sympathising European Union Foreign Policy Chief Backtracks as Protests Turn Deadly

Despite warning Iran to allow for peaceful protests this week, the European Union and its foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini have supported the Iranian regime and President Hassan Rouhani several times in the recent past.

On Monday Mogherini’s EU, along with British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, requested that the Iranian regime respect the right to protest after several deaths have been reported.

A spokesman for Ms. Mogherini said: “We have been in touch with the Iranian authorities and we expect that the right to peaceful demonstration and freedom of expression will be guaranteed,” the Times of Israel reports.

The move is a dramatic turn for Mogherini who has spoken out in favour of the Iranian regime in recent disputes regarding the U.S.-Iran deal which President Donald Trump has routinely slammed.

In early December, Ms. Mogherini and the EU slammed the Trump administration on Iran saying: “The Iran nuclear deal is a key strategic priority for European security but also for regional and global security.”

It is not the first time Mogherini had spoken out for the Iranian regime. In 2015, on a visit to Iran, she declared that ballistic missile tests were not a violation of the nuclear deal and said: “We expect Iran to fulfil all its international obligations.”

When current Iranian president Hassan Rouhani was reelected last year, Mogherini was one of the most prominent voices in Europe to congratulate him. On Twitter, she wrote: “I congratulate President @HassanRouhani for strong mandate received.”

The EU foreign policy chief even took the time to fly to Tehran where she personally attended the inauguration of the Iranian president and was caught taking selfies with members of the Iranian parliament.

The move was not well-received in Iran where many took to social media, likely through virtual private networks (VPNs) as many services are banned in Iran, to condemn the lawmakers taking selfies with Ms. Mogherini.

Not only a supporter of the Iranian regime, Mogherini has even come out in favour of the idea of political Islam in Europe. At a speech in Brussels in 2015, she remarked: “Islam belongs in Europe. It holds a place in Europe’s history, in our culture, in our food and – what matters most – in Europe’s present and future.”

“I am not afraid to say that political Islam should be part of the picture. Religion plays a role in politics – not always for good, not always for bad. Religion can be part of the process. What makes the difference is whether the process is democratic or not,” she added.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 

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