Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Similarities and differences between Iran and Bulgaria

Adelina Marini, June 22, 2009

A strange title, right? Well, it's not at all strange if we think about why the supporters of the opposition protest in Iran. Everything started from the presidential elections on the 12th of June when the current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been reelected, in spite of the lack of chances he had before the elections. He was expected to be the first president in decades that will not be reelected, but this did not happen and his reelection led to mass protests that killed more than 100 people. Only on Saturday, according to the BBC, 10 people were killed during the protests. Then 457 were detained. Nevertheless, the protests are still going on. And today the Iranian Guardian Council of the Constitution admitted that there were some irregularities on the election day. In more than 50 towns more votes were counted than the number of the residents. Does this sound familiar?

This is the first resemblance. If you have ever thought of Iran as a tyrannic, autocratic, theocratic and whatever comes to your mind, then think about Bulgaria where not only in 50 towns there will be more voters than residents. The expectations for buying of votes created another phenomenon - the corporate vote, expressed by the business party LIDER, supported absolutely officially by the party, representing the Turkish minority in Bulgaria the DPS (Movement for rights and freedoms). With no vexation at all, which is scary, no response, there is a discussion going on about duplication of personal ID numbers, for wrong ID numbers the check-up of which will finish at least a month after the elections and, even if it was earlier, it will not lead to cancellation of the results because there is no way to prove which personal ID which party might have supported. Let's also remind ourselves of the expensive campaigns and the total lack of a political debate on important for the society issues. Where is the difference? All this is happening with none, null, protests from supporters of the opposition or just regular citizens. That is the difference from Iran.

The EU has already expressed its position against the violent attempts of the Iranian authorities to stop the protests but, may be, you haven't noticed that the EU had a position? And I suppose that you've heard about the reports of the EU about the outrages in Bulgaria? Yes, you have, because we are a member of the EU, bu a member no one needs. Unlike Iran, which is not a member and will never be but the EU needs the country greatly because Iran is the missing link that will help for the realisation of the "Nabucco" project that would give Europe the so necessary energy independence from Russia. Iran is one of the countries that has biggest natural gas resources and, in fact, has many times stated its readiness to help with the filling of the pipeline. But the EU insists on the human rights and, most of all, on Iran to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes only which Tehran cannot or does not want, at this stage, to prove.

And what comes out? Obviously in Iran there is civil society. I am surprised but this is because I don't know that country, which is a mistake that many foreign policy strategists from developed countries have allowed. Having said that, have you heard in Bulgaria something about Iran, separately from the foreign news? Only the newly born party of the Bulgarian Greens published a declaration yesterday, calling on the Bulgarian foreign ministry and our embassy in Tehran "immediately to start or support possible actions that would save Iranian people and the world this genocide. Our embassy should not remain with closed doors for the wounded and the needing. We call on the Bulgarian government to implement all signed agreements and give an opportunity for acceptance of political refugees from Iran through its diplomatic representation in Tehran".

No other party, which works with outstanding experts-diplomats, has not yet expressed an opinion on this so important issue! Important for our country too, firstly, because we are a member of the EU and therefore, secondly, the Eu is interested in the spread of democratic values around the world and, most of all, is interested in its energy independence because energy dependence also deprives of democracy and free choice.

(later on euinside you can read the main foreign policy messages of the main political parties)