The Israeli Foreign Ministry blasted the European Union on Monday, saying that it legitimizes the Iranian terror-state by its plans to send an EU diplomat to the inauguration of the radical Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday.
Raisi won a controversial election in June – widely considered rigged and undemocratic by the Western world.
“The decision of the European Union to send a senior representative to the swearing-in ceremony of the ‘Butcher of Tehran’ is puzzling and shows poor judgment,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lior Haiat, using Raisi’s infamous nickname that refers to his involvement in the execution of thousands of Iranian dissidents.
Despite shared democratic values, considerable bilateral trade and scientific cooperation, the EU and Israel once again find themselves on opposite sides of the Middle Eastern fence in terms of policies and priorities.
Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Enrique Mora reportedly plans to attend the Iranian presidential inauguration of Raisi on Aug. 5. Mora also serves as the EU coordinator in the controversial Iran talks.
Last Friday, an Israeli-managed ship was attacked by drones off the coast of Oman, killing the ship’s Romanian captain and a British crewmember. The attack is widely attributed to the Iranian regime.
While Tehran is officially denying any responsibility, the U.S., the UK, Romania and Israel blame the Iranian ayatollah regime for the attack and have declared that they are coordinating a response to the Iranian attack.
In its criticism of the EU, the Israeli Foreign Ministry stressed the fact that one of the fatalities of the Iranian attack on the vessel was a citizen of Romania, an EU member state.
“The participation of the EU representative in the ceremony comes just a few days after Iran killed two civilians, one of whom was from an EU member state, in an act of state terrorism against civilian shipping.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson whose country is no longer an EU member state, told reporters that Iran should be held responsible for the attack.
“Iran should face up to the consequences of what they’ve done. This was clearly an unacceptable and outrageous attack on commercial shipping. A UK national died. It is absolutely vital that Iran and every other country, respects the freedoms of navigation around the world and the UK will continue to insist on that,” Johnson said.
Unlike Israel, the U.S. and the UK, the EU has so far adopted a far more dovish policy approach toward the Iranian regime. The purpose of Mora’s visit to Iran is to break the impasse and revive the nuclear negotiations with the Iranian regime, according to The Wall Street Journal.
France, Germany and the UK, the European powers that were parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, reportedly objected to sending the EU envoy Mora to the Iranian presidential inauguration. However, none of the three European countries opposed the EU’s decision, according to The Wall Street Journal.
While Israel believes that the nuclear deal paves the path to an Iranian nuclear bomb, the EU believes that only a new agreement with Tehran can prevent a nuclear bomb from getting into the hands of the ayatollah regime. However, even former U.S. President Barack Obama who initiated the Iran talks admitted that the nuclear deal merely postponed, but would not prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
In addition, the EU is eager to have sanctions against Iran removed due to commercial interests. Under a favorable scenario with no sanctions, annual European-Iranian bilateral trade would total approximately 11.8 billion euros ($14 billion).
Given the fact that Iran is a large emerging market with a population of around 80 million people, there is a potential for considerably larger European-Iranian trade volume in the future.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.