Companies all over the world are parading to position themselves to do business with the Islamic regime in Iran (IRI). American and European companies are jockeying to be the first in line as some sanctions are suspended and negotiations are underway for a deal that will ease and eventually remove sanctions if IRI agrees to curb its nuclear program.
Almost 600 foreign firms from Germany, Spain, Canada, Japan, and China have taken part in the 19th annual International Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Exhibition in Tehran Oil Fair compared to 195 in the previous year . Representatives from France’s Total and the German’s Siemens were among the participants. At least five companies with U.S. government contracts attended the show and at least twenty of the companies attending the oil show maintain a U.S. presence .
Australian oil and gas giant OMV has announced that it is in the process of renewing a 22 billion EUR deal with the IRI. OMV Executive Director, Gerhard Roiss has already met with the Iranian Oil Minister to arrange the new deals .
A delegation of 110 members of MEDEF – France’s largest employers’ union resume talks with IRI in February 2014 .
The surge of flights to Iran clearly reflects overwhelming eagerness to deal with the Islamic Regime in Iran . Austrian Airlines has announced that it will resume five weekly flights to Tehran. Lufthansa has announced that it is considering adding more seats to its daily flights. Turkish Airlines is also seeking permission to add flights to Iran.
The International Auto market is also embracing new deals with the IRI. Based on the statements made by their representatives, they are following the negotiations with great interest. France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault, in particular, stand to gain from renewing their once sizable Iran activities. Iran Khodro, the giant car manufacturer is already planning to engage in new joint projects with foreign carmakers .
Reports by Foreign Policy show that over 100 German companies are currently doing business in Iran and “their European rivals are scrambling to catch up.” These investments have been estimated to worth as much as $20 billion .
As soon as the IRI agrees to curb its nuclear program, these deals will be finalized. This economic power can keep the Islamic Regime in power and in turn it will empower them to continue their religious dictatorship.
Iranian expatriates have two options. They can remain silent, trapped by the IRI’s lobby groups and intimidated with their false war-peace scenario, and ignore the tragedy that is shaped before their eyes. Their other option is to challenge the deals with the IRI by participating in the political process. They can support the U.S. senate bill S. 1881 , the European Parliament Resolution , and add the condition to release all political prisoners to the atomic condition of sanctions.
This is a tough yet possible task. It requires courage to deal with the accusations mounted by lobby groups and their proxies that are making a great effort to portray supporters of smart sanctions as warmongers. Unfortunately, many intellectuals as well as political and human rights activists are more concerned about their image than the outcome of their inaction.
These “intellectuals” acknowledge effectiveness of a smart sanction to empower the Iranians in private. They do not dare to so much utter the word “sanction” in public. I have been told in private: “Do you want to know the truth? I am scared. Iranians are mostly against the sanctions and I cannot risk my reputation.” The behavior of IRI cannot be changed by easing or removing the sanctions as bribes and incentives or by military intervention or coup .
Iranian people are up against the entire interest driven world that push for a deal with their abusers and have never acknowledged their struggle for a secular democracy in a practical manner. All Iranian uprisings were crushed by the IRI without any consequences and they had no help from democratic governments. Their frustration was well demonstrated in March 2010 uprising when a large group of pro-democracy protesters in Tehran called on President Barack Obama to support their cause, chanting, “Obama, Obama, either you are with them or you are with us!” .
Imposing a smart sanction will empower the freedom loving Iranians to resume their fight. A smart sanction that has the condition to release all political prisoners would have the heartwarming message that the world does not recognize their abusers. Iranians need to be assured that their battle is only with the IRI and not the entire world.
This is not going to happen by just appealing to the big powers. Those Iranian expatriates who have the courage to stand up against the orchestrated misrepresentation of smart sanction, must stand for the truth and humanity. We need to take part in the political process of our resident countries and show our policy makers that it is to the benefit of the entire world to stand behind the Iranian people versus the Iranian government.
We ought to break our silence. It is time!
Mohammad Parvin, Ph.D., is a former faculty member of California Institute of Technology and an adjunct professor at the California State University, an Aerospace Specialist, and Founding Director of the Mission for Establishment of Human Rights in Iran (MEHR)
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