BY: Tony Johnson
PEJOURNAL – Mehran Raouf, a British citizen, was arrested on October 16th by the intelligence service of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran and is currently being held in Ward 2-Alef of Evin Prison (a special branch of the Iranian prison for political prisoners).
Britain is currently grappling with major problems, including Scotland’s secession, and the dire economic and social consequences of COVID19, and in this turbulent situation, the news about arresting one of its citizens by the Revolutionary Guard Corps intelligence service is a heavy blow to Buckingham officials and the Boris Johnson administration.
The British government’s months-long and meaningful silence regarding its detained citizen, who, according to informed officials in Iran, has committed serious security-related crimes, is a continuation of the British government’s weakening trend, the culmination of which can be seen in Nazanin Zaghari’s case.
Britain’s apparent turmoil and weakness in protecting its citizens are such that it has not only called the British government’s ability to defend the rights of its citizens into question, but also raised the voices of British elites and political experts.
In the meantime, the question is what has happened that in recent years we have seen the decline of British foreign policy power and influence in international relations, together with the lack of proper defense, to return British citizens home, especially Nazanin Zaghari, a dual-national who was imprisoned for more than four years, and the British government was unsuccessful to release her, and this failure can be called the Achilles heel of the Boris Johnson administration in the foreign sphere.
This growing weakness is so catastrophic that it has even raised the voices of protest by Britain’s most senior political official, Jeremy Hunt, the former British Foreign Secretary, and could become a major political scandal for the British government. “The country could look weak because it fails to support its imprisoned citizens in Iran,” Jeremy Hunt said in a note in the Times of London.
“We must show the world that if you imprison a British citizen on trumped-up charges, you will pay a very heavy price because Britain is a major player on the world stage and intends to remain one,” Mr. Hunt writes: “Allowing ourselves to be pushed around like this at the moment of post-Brexit renewal sends the opposite signal.”
Nahid Taghavi, a German citizen, was also detained by security forces at her home on October 16th. Although the arrest of Ms. Nahid Taghavi by Revolutionary Guard Corps has been covered by the German media, the German government’s foreign policy relations with Iran also show the passivity and weakness of the German government and the German foreign policy apparatus.
Despite Ms. Mariam Claren (the daughter of Nahid Taghavi) repeated pursuits and requests to the German government that has sacrificed the lives of homeless citizens for the benefit of political interests and antagonisms with the pro-Western Iranian faction to preserve JCPOA. The arrest of Nahid Taghavi and Mehran Raouf in one day reinforces the suspicion that there may have been an organic relationship between the two, at least from the perspective of the Revolutionary Guard Corps intelligence service.
Whereas, the British and German governments have always intervened in matters of Russian domestic politics and have provided informal and formal support to the Russian opposition, even at the diplomatic level.
The unprecedented and unacceptable interference of European powers in Russia’s internal affairs, and in particular in the case of Alexei Navalny, comes at a time when Britain and Germany have remained silent and do not do the slightest effective action to save the lives of their citizens from Revolutionary Guard Corps prisons.
Most of the foreign nationals, who arrested by the Guard Corps intelligence service, are accused of carrying out security-related activities and crimes. The question now is whether the inaction of the German and British governments in the face of these arrests reflects the veracity of these claims, or whether there are priorities beyond the lives of their citizens.
In any case, if the claims of the Guard Corps intelligence service and Iranian judicial officials are true, or if the statements of these governments are right, it would indicate that Iran has been very decisive in dealing with the citizens of European countries in recent years and somehow is the winner in this political conflict. Britain and Germany, which once enjoyed considerable influence in Iran, are now perceived as weak by foreign policy experts through their passive behavior.
On the other hand, given the negative impulses of the Barack Obama administration to London, on the eve of the country’s exit from the European Union and the weakening of multilateralism under Donald Trump – the turning point of which was the withdrawal from international treaties such as JCPOA – now With Joe Biden in the office at the White House, the American Democrats are tuning in on the return to JCPOA and other treaties.
They are actually hoping for the cooperation of their traditional allies across the Atlantic, perhaps one of their goals is to send a pulse to the pro-Western part of the Iranian government and civil society to restore their lost power and prestige and try to maintain this political current in power during the 2021 Iranian elections.
But the hard core of political power in Iran, led by Grand Ayatollah Khamenei and the intelligence service of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, with the bitter experience of JCPOA, which practically caused the government to fall into the hands of the pro-Western current in two periods, this time has pursued the unification of Iran’s domestic and foreign policy through playing with foreign players.
The purpose of this path is to prevent a new agreement and to radicalize the European parties of JCPOA, to discredit the Rouhani government in order to show the failed model of agreement with the West and the United States. The way to achieve this goal is humiliation and pressure on the West at different bottlenecks; which can be once the decision of the Iranian parliament to withdraw from the commitments to JCPOA and another can be the humiliation of European governments through the mass arrests of their citizens.
Tehran is sending very strong pulses to London: the days of being a superpower are over, and today, it is your turn to be humiliated in the story of Nazanin Zaghari and Mehran Raouf.