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Media coverage | 8 April 2020

The ELN group statement mentioned in Arab News

The European Leadership Network’s joint statement with the Iran Project has been mentioned in Arab News in an article authored by ELN member, Alastair Burt.

So I am interested in how the US and Iran respond to a call this week from the European Leadership Network for some targeted sanctions relief to assist the Iranian people in dealing with what is perhaps the highest coronavirus mortality rate in the world. This appeal was not made by Scout movement activists, but was signed by former US secretaries of state and defense, four former NATO secretaries-general, and an ex-EU high representative — in all, 24 exceptional people who know what negotiations with Iran are all about. They recognize that events have changed the nature and impact of the existing sanctions, and their targeted call builds on existing exemptions.

They make the point that the handlers of medical devices and goods would be the private sector, and the doctors who would be the beneficiaries of working with them are the pillars of Iranian civil society, not the Iranian government. Such a gesture is not only the right thing to do, but it would also pose a smart challenge to elements in Iran to respond, as they should, and act to protect lives in Europe, America and around the world, as global security emphasizes the importance of protecting the weakest links. 

I commend the plan and urge support and its adoption, as the signatories also recognize that failure to assist has consequences too. Both the Iranian people and the US deserve more than the usual standoff at this time. Let’s see if this well-thought-through work delivers the change of diplomatic mood that Guterres has been looking for.