Human rights and Iran-Norwegian Relation

Ehsan Hosseinzadeh is an Iranian lawyer and human rights activist. He writes for national newspapers such as Ghanoon, Shahrvand and Araz, focusing on social, legal and human rights issues in Iran. This is his first article as a guest writer for Norway Today, about Human rights as a basis for Iran-Norwegian Relation.

There is an old policy that economic relations is a good basis for starting or expanding political relations between countries but this article wants to challenge it.

To avoiding political tension countries are not willing to emphasise human rights principles in their relationship with other countries and instead of that, they are willing to expand economic relations to benefit more and more. But when violation of human rights becomes so important and press pay attention to these violations, diplomats overlook economic benefits and put human rights first like what we see these days in murder story of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and many diplomats cancelled their trip to Saudi Arabia to participate in investment conference which was so important for Saudi Arabia and could benefit both parties.

Expand Norway’s relations with Iran

Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, in a meeting with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani on the sideline of UN General Assembly in New York, said Norway is figuring out how to expand relations with Iran in spite of the US government’s sanctions.

Norwegian Ambassador to Tehran, Lars Nordrum, said in an exclusive interview with Mehr News that Norway is fully committed to the JCPOA and will support EU’s promised financial mechanism to continue trade with Iran in the face of US sanctions.

The Norwegian Foreign Ministry says Oslo supports efforts by the European Union to safeguard the Iran nuclear deal, amid the bloc’s promises that it will protect the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) following the US withdrawal from it.

Above mentioned headlines were Norwegian officials’ recent interview about their relation with Iran and surprisingly we only hear about economic cooperation, JCPOA and how Norway wants to help Iran to avoid effects of US latest sanctions but what about human rights’ escalating situation in Iran which according to reports is really bad these days?!

Is Norway dealing with a country with high measures of compliance with human rights principles and there is no need to talk about human rights issues??! The answer is NO! Iran is one of the countries with a high amount of death penalties in the world!


Iran is a country suffers from a high rate of corruption and lack of transparency in its economy! Iran is one of the countries with the lowest compliance with rule of law; Iranian regime is kind of regime oppresses peacefully protestors in streets and kill people; The Iranian Government is the entity who arrests teachers only for their 2 days strike to improve their life quality – and sentence them to many years imprisonment!

This Mr. Rouhani, the President of Iran, who lectured about peace in UN General Assembly said: «The world will not have a better friend than Iran if peace is what you seek», is head of the administration that censors internet in Iran and blocks all social media to atomize and isolate people and civil society and does not let Iranian women into football stadiums.

This regime and its judicial system is kind of regime that jail famous lawyers and human rights activists like Nasrin Sotoudeh while Europe is silent!

Totalitarian regime

And we see Norwegian authorities want to expand the economic relationship with this regime, who could not even provide investors with a transparent economy and low-risk economic environment. It is interesting that Norway which is one of the great democracies in the world seeks to expand economic relations with the Islamic Republic, who has taken its own people hostages and is an unreliable totalitarian regime!

Norwegians should ask their authorities that why we should deal with a regime who does not care about human rights and also risking our investment in this corrupted economy.

The hope is that one day human rights will become the first question European diplomats ask, and human rights would be a precondition for any economic relation with totalitarian regimes like Iran.
Ehsan Hosseinzadeh Human Rights Iran Norway
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