The Jerusalem Post
Outrage over austrian fM alleged ban on protest against iran nuke deal talks
Iranian dissidents claim the Austrian foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg ordered the Vienna police to ban Iranian dissidents from protesting against the nuclear talks with the Islamic Republic of Iran near the Grand Hotel Vienna where negotiations are being held.
In a Wednesday Skype conversation with The Jerusalem Post, Atusa Sabagh, an Iranian dissident based in Vienna, who is part of the demonstration, said the Vienna police told protesters that the foreign minister said they “are not allowed to protest.”
Sabagh said the protesters told the police that “we will not accept that.” She said the police told the protesters to retain a lawyer.
Sabagh said there have been protests each day from 8:00AM to 6:00PM. When she asked if she can protest against the nuclear talks as a single individual with a poster, the police said no.
The nuclear talks seek to bring Iran’s regime into compliance with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the formal name for the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers. The agreement provides temporary restrictions on the Iranian regime’s capability to produce a nuclear weapons
device in exchange for economic sanctions relief.
The US withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 because American officials said it did not stop Tehran from developing the world’s deadliest weapons. The US is also negotiating about its reentry into the pact.
The Post obtained a copy of the police order banning the Iranian dissidents’ protest labeled “Stop the dictator in Iran.”
According to the police justification for the ban, the JCPOA talks were “significantly disrupted” by noise.
The police document said: “To extract from an opinion of the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs from 11.06.2021 the noise caused, among other things, adversely affects the conference process” of the JCPOA talks.
The spokesman for the Austrian Foreign Ministry, Gabriele Juen, told the Post: “As host
country of the negotiations to preserve the JCPOA, we are responsible for the security of participants, also in view of our obligations under international law. Austria wants to guarantee suitable and above all secure surroundings to facilitate the success of these talks to end this international conflict.
“Upon request of many participants in the negotiations the holding of demonstrations in the immediate vicinity of the venue has been evaluated in view of the security of the participants and the noise generated.”
She added that “the security implications of the forthcoming elections in Iran have also been taken into account.
“As a consequence of this evaluation, an alternative venue was proposed to the organizers of the demonstrations, who rejected this proposal. Over the last few days, demonstrations have nevertheless taken place at the alternative venue.
“The claim that this undermines freedom of expression or assembly therefore simply does not reflect reality. Freedom of expression and assembly are rights protected by the constitution of the Republic of Austria, which are of course upheld by the Austrian authorities.”
Enrique Mora ,the deputy secretary-general/political director of European External Action Service for the EU, tweeted: “I will make a public statement on the attitude of the Austrian police at 19h at the door of the Grand Hotel.” It is unclear what his public statement said.
Mora’s response triggered outrage on social media. Sabagh tweeted: “The behaviour of @ enriquemora_ as the enabler of the Iranian regime in violating Article11,ECHR rights of protestors in Vienna is unacceptable and deserving of the severest censure. Please raise this urgently in the EU Parliament as a formal vote of impeachment #enriquemora_Gate.” Twitter was abuzz with complaints about the ban of Iranian dissidents.
The police document claims the authorities deem a “successful completion of the talks” as a “contribution to the settlement of an international conflict.” The report added that a “continued massive disruption of the talks through the current demonstrations” is a “concrete danger for the collapse” of the talks and cannot be in the interests of the international community and the Republic of Austria.
Iranian dissidents and critics of the JCPOA say the deal is fatally flawed because it ignores the Iranian regime’s horrific human rights records, violent repression of Iranians, Tehran’s sponsorship of international terrorism. The planned deal, argue critics, does not seek to restrict the Iranian regime’s ballistic missile program. The US government under both democratic and republican administrations has classified Iran’s regime as the world’s worst state-sponsor of terrorism.