Don't Give Iran's President a Pass - Giulio Maria Terzi
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani travels this weekend for his first state visit to Europe. Since his election in 2013, more than 2,000 people have been executed in Iran, more than during any equivalent period in the past 25 years. The regime has also stepped up its arrests and its judicial abuses, including its targeting of activists, dissidents, minorities and others. By welcoming Rouhani, Europe is giving the impression that it is willing to talk about oil deals and trade partnerships even if it means actively ignoring Iran's worsening human-rights situation, its sponsorship of terror and destabilizing activities in the Middle East.
Italy, France and the EU should commit to using Rouhani's visit not just to explore new investment opportunities, but also as an opportunity to confront him about his country's human-rights situation. The only reasons Western countries should have for meeting with the Iranian president are to challenge his domestic and foreign policies and to make it known that Western investment and sanctions relief will be shut off if Tehran fails to release its political prisoners and safeguard the rights of its citizens.
The writer is a former foreign minister of Italy.
(Wall Street Journal)