How to advance the EU-Iran relationship ? What are the West’s interests ? And What do we know about the situation in Iran ?

First, the regime has no plan. Second, the regime want to instill the belief in the population that foreigners are behind the trouble. Third, there is a lack of confidence in that the Basiji is up to the job of repressing the riots.

This is an opportunity for EU to intervene and shape the crisis management in Iran. This must depart from a clear articulation of EU’s priorities. The European Union’s priorities: (1) Restoration of the JCPOA (2) Oil & Gas flows again (3) Value-based Foreign Policy.

Next, Iran’s concern for a balanced foreign policy and the real room of maneuver in Teheran must be taken into consideration when forging an EU strategy.  Thus, EU’s intervention cannot be limited to the promotion of human rights and the imposition of sanctions, which are a harbinger of conflict.

Conflict-solution, political mediation and a diplomatic initiative are warranted. One notes, that Mexico successfully mediated in the case of Venezuela, a mediation which provides a sort of template for the resolution of the Iran crisis. The West has also a key interest in preventing closer alignment between Russia, China and Iran in the Persian Gulf.

From this flows the exigencies on Iran: (1) Citizen Councils (2) Privatization (3) Free Trade Areas throughout Iran on the model of Kish (4) Engagement of EU & KSA in regional diplomacy.

At the same time, EU could lend credibility to the Teheran University’s declaration of support for the demonstrators on their three demands upon the regime: 1. Economic competent government           2. Administrative reform ( say, structural reform and ombudsman) 3. Release of political prisoners.

Fundamental reform is needed in Iran. And like all Muslim countries, Iran grapples with the balance between religion and politics. This even applies to a country, where the power apparatus has been captured by political islamists.

This could be interwoven internally and externally in Iran and employed at the discretion of  the Chief Executive. Ayatollah Khamenei, like Clinton and Merkel, is strong and comfortable to be around but he doesn’t know what he wants. To lead change, strong leadership and good governance is needed.

Now, Chevron holds most of the technological licenses needed for Teheran to reduce Co2-Emis-sions in its oil and gas sector, so a note on Iran by Chevron on this topic and the potential for gas cooperation in the Persian Gulf would be helpful. A Key Western interest is to prevent China, Russia and Iran from coaliscing further. Iran on its side must know it can rely on its western partners.

In addition, I would welcome a comprehensive investment study by the World Bank and the Islamic Development Bank on the MENA-region, without prejudice to sub-regional dynamics, even as a commitment to the restoration of the JCPOA is advanced. Or to coin Stanley Hoffmann: The US hegemony undoubtedly suggest to subsume oneself under its leadership, but there are different ways of doing so.

What should EU do ? Lament or advertise with Ovid the fact we risk no longer to distinguish between good and evil ? Men have different rivaling potential. I will finish be saying that all girls have a diverse heart and a thousand different characters requires as many strategies to be devised to conquer them. Yet, society has changed in Iran and the woman of Iran are carrying the burden for producing the necessary change. We must respond to this cry for freedom in a responsible manner by adjusting our comportment and reconnecting with the people.

The European Union has a lot to offer a reforming Iran. For EU-Iran relationship to develop positively, mutual interests must be identified before promoting regional peace and stability.

And so, the conceptual infrastructure for moving forward is there. What is needed is the political will and competence to make it happen.

Christian ILCUS, Piledamsvej 19, st, Dk-6000 Kolding