Benjamin Weinthal

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On May 28, 1961, British lawyer Peter Benenson penned a passionate article in the London Observer, drawing attention to the plight of two Portuguese students who had delivered a toast calling for democratic reform in their country and were promptly carted off to prison for defying dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. Benenson wrote in that article: "Open your newspaper any day of the week, and you will find a report from somewhere in the world of someone being imprisoned, tortured or executed because his opinions or religion are unacceptable to his government.... The newspaper reader feels a sickening sense of impotence.…  Seguir leyendo »

Yesterday, European Union leaders gathered in Brussels and approved a new round of sanctions targeting Iran's financial and energy sectors, with a special focus on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the paramilitary organisation that dominates most of Iran's business and brutally suppresses the country's democratic opposition. The IRGC is said by experts to control as much as 80% of foreign trade.

While the new sanctions build on last week's UN resolution compelling Iran to pull the plug on its illicit nuclear programme, they also give cause for hope that the EU will no longer subjugate human rights to commercial interests.

The EU now has a month to hammer out the details of its leaders' decision.…  Seguir leyendo »