Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met his Swedish counterpart on August 20, 2019, as part of a Scandinavian tour, where maritime security in the Persian Gulf was featured.
Iranian diaspora and supporters of the Iranian opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), held a rally on Wednesday, August 21, protesting the visit by Javad Zarif.
Protesters held signs and chanted slogans to let the world and international media know of their protests. “Javad Zarif is a murderer, No one should negotiate with him,” “Javad Zarif is the enemy of Iranians,” “Javad Zarif is a charlatan, He’s the enemy of the Iranian people,” were among the slogans voiced by the demonstrators.
The protesters were also holding signs reading, “Zarif gets lost!” “Expel Iranian regime operatives from Scandinavian countries” and “Expel Javad Zarif.”
The Swedish government is now facing strong criticism from a number of representatives. One member of the Swedish Parliament from the Conservative Party criticized Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven for confirming the Iranian regime’s positions.
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström held a press conference in regards to Zarif’s visit.
“We did not invite Zarif. He came himself,” she emphasized. This press conference was held without Zarif’s presence and reporters began asking questions about strong protests held by Iranian in Sweden against Zarif’s visit, demanding answers why such an individual has been accepted in Sweden.
A reporter of Sweden’s Express daily asked, “A variety of parties protested this visit and meeting. There’s been a demonstration outside of this building all afternoon. What is your response?”
Another reporter asked, “The protesters are calling on Sweden to take a precise position and impose further pressure on the Iranian regime before any meetings with their officials.”
Iranians in Finland had also held a rally protesting Zarif’s scheduled visit to Scandinavian countries.
Sweden’s SVT reported three injured protesters were transferred to hospitals and authorities intervened to distance 62 individuals after the situation became intense during Zarif’s stay.
The United States imposed sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, targeting the country’s top spokesman. “Javad Zarif implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader and is the regime’s primary spokesperson around the world.”
Mr. Lars Rise a Norwegian politician for the Christian Democratic Party In his article Titled “Hold Zarif Accountable for Iran’s Human Rights Violations” wrote:
“Since he became foreign minister in 2013, the regime has executed more than 3,500 people, including women and children. According to the Iranian opposition, more than 8,000 activists were arrested during early-2018 protests in more than 160 cities throughout the country and a number of them were tortured to death.”
Zarif is no stranger to crimes against humanity. He was active as a senior career diplomat in the United Nations in 1988 while his government butchered over 30,000 political prisoners, members and supporters of the Mojahedin-e Khalq, the main opposition movement in Iran.
A diplomat from the Iranian embassy in Vienna has been charged with a plot to bomb a MEK rally in Paris on June 2018 and is awaiting trial in Belgium. The ambassador and first secretary from the Iranian embassy in Albania were expelled from that country last December on similar charges. Zarif is ultimately their boss.
Nobody wants a war with Iran, but the best way to prevent war is to reject Tehran’s egregious conduct wholesale. By rejecting Zarif’s visit and holding him to account.”
In fact, Protesters in major cities of Iran calling for the downfall of the regime, chanting “reformers, hardliners, the game is over”. And the world realized that Iranians did not want the ruling clerics.
However, critics in the European Union, say sanctions are often poorly conceived and rarely successful in changing a target’s conduct
Many in the West, especially regime apologists, say that US sanctions hurt the people of Iran first and foremost.
It should not come as a surprise that Iranians think otherwise. Of course, regime supporters are portrayed on state-run TV as blaming the current state of the economy on the US, calling Trump their “enemy.”
But ordinary Iranians, who are actually under the most economic pressure, were heard chanting, “Our enemy is right here, they lie when they say it’s America,” in recent protests.
*Perviz S. Khazai is a law graduate and former Apprentice diplomat in French Ministry of Foreign Affairs- in IIAP(ENA) Paris, in United Nations in Geneva- In Red Cross International- In Council of Europe in Strasbourg and International Court of Justice in The Hague 1969-1971. He served as an international law expert of foreign affairs in Tehran 1976-1979. He served as the head of the mission and acting ambassador in Norway and Sweden in 1979-1982. He is now representative of NCRI in northern Europe.