That assessment angered the Iranian regime, which has been rocked for two months by protests sparked by the killing of Mahsa Amini — a young woman seized by so-called morality police over an infraction related to her head scarf. Yet Macron’s commentary underscores a hardening Western attitude toward Iran, raising the potential that outrage over Tehran’s crackdown on the protests will eclipse even the most important European policy priorities — such as the long-sought rehabilitation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
“This revolution changes many things,” Macron said, per French media. “I don’t think there will be new proposals which can be made right now [to save the nuclear deal].”
Iranian authorities have killed more than 300 protesters and arrested more than 14,000 others, according to a human rights organization focused on Iran.
“We are deeply concerned about reports from Iran of mass arrests, sham trials, and now a death sentence for protesters voicing legitimate demands against a government that systematically denies basic dignity and freedom to its people,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday. “The human rights abuses inflicted by its government must not go without consequence. The hundreds of protestors already killed at the hands of Iranian state authorities deserve justice.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s point man for the Iran nuclear negotiations agreed that the talks have stalled out, a dynamic he attributed to Iranian intransigence earlier this year and an accumulating array of policy disputes on other issues.
“Our focus is not an accord that isn’t moving forward, but what is happening in Iran … this popular movement and the brutal crackdown of the regime against protesters,” State Department special envoy Rob Malley told reporters in Paris. “It’s [on] the sale of armed drones by Iran to Russia … and the liberation of our hostages.”
Malley left the door open to a renewal of the talks, provided that Iran does not “cross new thresholds” in its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
“If Iran takes the initiative to cross new thresholds in its nuclear program, then obviously the response will be different and coordinated with our European allies,” he said.
The European Union imposed sanctions on more than two dozen Iranian official and security personnel, including Iranian Army Gen. Kiyumars Heidari. “There can be no ‘business as usual’ in bilateral relations with a state that treats its own citizens with such contempt for human rights,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said last week.