Berlin warns, Bern waits
Germans should leave Iran, Swiss can stay
Berlin fears that Germans will be targeted by the mullahs – and is urging them to leave Iran. Switzerland, on the other hand, is waiting with such calls.
On Saturday, more than a thousand people demonstrated in Bern against the Iran regime – and against Switzerland’s restraint.
The regime in Iran tried again this week to put down the protests in the country with all their might. According to human rights activists, around 300 demonstrators have died so far. It is not foreseeable that the mullah regime will give in. Recently, the head of the Revolutionary Guards openly threatened to use the military against the protesters. It would be a new escalation level.
Germany is now pulling the ripcord and urging its compatriots to leave Iran. “For German nationals, there is a concrete risk of being arbitrarily arrested, interrogated and sentenced to long prison terms,” Berlin warned on Thursday. Above all, dual citizens who have Iranian citizenship in addition to German are at risk.
So-called hostage diplomacy is a proven tool for the regime in Tehran. Foreigners and dual nationals, who are usually accused of spying for the West, are often used as bargaining chips. According to human rights organizations, 17 dual citizens from Europe and North America are currently behind bars.
At least 189 Swiss are still in the theocracy, according to the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs (EDA). 160 of them have dual Swiss-Iranian citizenship, which means they are potentially particularly vulnerable to attacks by the regime.
Unlike Germany, however, Switzerland is currently waiting and not calling for people to leave the country. The demonstrations are observed carefully and the risks of traveling to Iran are pointed out, for example “that the Iranian laws differ significantly from the Swiss legal norms”, as the EDA reports.
Switzerland’s role brings security
In particular, suspected espionage or interference in political affairs would be prosecuted and punished, according to the warning from Bern. The FDFA is currently not aware of any Swiss or dual nationals who have been imprisoned in Iran.
In view of the current Swiss foreign policy, the mullahs shouldn’t harbor a particular grudge against Switzerland. Because Switzerland will not accept the latest EU sanctions against the regime, as the economic and foreign departments announced in the middle of this week.
The good offices of Switzerland in Iran play a role in this, as can be heard officially. Switzerland holds five protecting power mandates in Iran, including one for the USA.
Switzerland’s Iran policy was the subject of criticism at a national Iran demonstration yesterday, for which more than 1,000 people gathered on Bern’s Bundesplatz.
The Federal Council is listening, a change in Swiss Iran policy is due, so the demand. All sanctions would have to be adopted and Iranian regime opponents in Switzerland better protected against deportation.