Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Spot the difference

Iran and Moldova - two countries with remarkably similar contexts:

1. A hardline authoritarian ruling party
2. A fraudulent vote
3. A violent police crackdown on protest
4. A split between young urban liberals and older rural conservatives

What is not similar is the response from the European Union. These have been observed keenly by a blogger at http://tinyurl.com/mnulzx.

The council's statement on Iran (http://tinyurl.com/l46mxt) is tough - "The Iranian authorities must address and investigate...concerns regarding the conduct of the elections".

Contrast this with Benita Ferrero Waldner's response to the fraudulent Moldovan election (http://tinyurl.com/kldga2). "I am pleased that the elections...were conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner and in an overall pluralistic environment. I wish to congratulate the Moldovan people for their active participation in these elections, which confirms their commitment to democracy in their country"

So, given the very similar contexts, why the difference in approach? A charitable observer could suggest that the EU has learned from the Moldovan fiasco and is now being more active in the defence of its values. A less charitable commentator would observe that Iran is not in Russia's sphere of influence and the EU is not getting its information from that country through the filter of Kalman Miszei and his friends in Moscow.

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