The failure of quiet diplomacy: getting away with murder in Iran

The execution of Dutch-Iranian citizen, Zahra Bahrami, is clear evidence of the failure of quiet diplomacy by the Dutch government, writes Kamran Ashtary

The protection of human rights and quiet diplomacy do not have have any thing in common. Human rights organizations focusing on Iran have long been saying that the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran pressures individuals and governments to keep quiet. When governments use quiet diplomacy to try and negotiate with the IRI they are falling into a trap. This is not a call for an end to diplomacy. The point is that the time is long overdue to make some noise. Human Rights organizations and defenders have been saying this for years.
In the words of a human rights specialist who was once stationed in a Western embassy in Tehran, “I have always asked myself if quiet diplomacy helps with Iran. At this point it is obvious that there can be no quiet diplomacy with the current government. The only thing I can recommend is that all governments and all media start paying attention to and condemning the human rights violations in Iran. Unfortunately, no one is paying attention, and Iran is just getting away with murder.”
On Saturday, January 29, the Dutch citizen, Zahra Bahrami was executed despite the fact that the foreign ministry in the Netherlands was told that the judicial process was not yet completed. This is not the first time that human rights violators have used false accusations of drug smuggling to execute and hold (non) political activists. The actions of the government of the Netherlands to freeze business ties and diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran is a good first step, but should not be the last.
The Islamic regime has accused the Netherlands of trying to undermine its rule through the support of free media and human rights organizations. Iranian regime has accuse and put Dutch humanitarian development foundation and media outlet on black list of so called regime change list and prevent iranians to have any kind of connections with those foundation only to stop support for human rights in Iran.
Many Dutch-Iranians are questioning the ability of their adopted country to protect them. Many are saying that it is too little, too late. There is a lot of introspection in the Dutch-Iranian community at the moment. People are asking what they could have done and why they stayed so quiet. One such person summed up the feelings, saying, “I trusted that the Dutch government would do everything in its power to protect its citizens, but I was wrong. We should have been more active.”
It is clear that many members of the Dutch parliament were shocked by the execution of one of its citizens. Some members of the Dutch-Iranian community are asking why this is so. Have they not
noticed that Iran executes more of its own citizens than any other country in the world? Have they missed the news that there has been an average of one execution every eight hours since the beginning of the year?
Here are some minimum recommendations for the Dutch government.
1. The Netherlands should lead an international effort to challenge Iran’s refusal to accept dual nationality.
2. The Dutch government should lead efforts to bring the issue of human rights in Iran to the European parliament.
3. The Netherlands should crack down on the operations of Iranian Intelligence officers located here because the Dutch-Iranian community feels unsafe. Over the past two years, Intelligence personnel attached to the Iranian embassy in the Netherlands have been seen publicly
photographing Dutch-Iranian citizens attending demonstrations and are known to be collecting information.
4. The Netherlands should stop issuing visas for any purpose to personnel of the Revolutionary Guards or the Judiciary and related organizations.
5. The Netherlands should approve the asylum applications of political refugees who left Iran since 2009. Many of their applications have been denied
6. Respect for human rights needs to become a business concern as well as a political concern.
7. The Dutch government should lead an effort to call for the immediate release of all prisoners of conscience in Iran.
8. The Dutch government should protest the use of (forced) confessions against prisoners of conscience and others.
Kamran Ashtary is co-founder of Dutch base Iranian Civil and Human Right foundation Arseh Sevom

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