By: dr. Andreja Valič Zver
If I ask you how you imagine a terrorist, you will probably describe a bearded, slightly dishevelled man with a dangerous look and even more dangerous beliefs. Or maybe a hunched-over woman hiding an explosive under her clothes that is sure to take her straight to heaven. In addition to themselves, both of them will bring at least a dozen completely innocent people to the next world. Yes, these and similar are our ideas about the terrorists who have been shaping our destiny since September 11th, 2001, and even before that terrible day. Nothing is sacred to terrorists, least of all the lives of all those who are their targets. Of course, we can now discuss a million reasons for the most heinous acts in human history, but nothing, absolutely nothing, can justify the killing and maiming of innocent people.
But look, our ideas about terrorists are radically changing thanks to modern murderous totalitarian regimes. If a few years ago we received with astonishment and disbelief the news about some European parliamentarians and institutions that had become unwelcome in Putin’s Russia, a few days ago we were shocked by the news that the brutal Iranian regime had declared some European institutions and European parliamentarians to be “terrorists”. Among them also the Slovenian Dr Milan Zver, who has been clearly and loudly advocating for the freedom of the Iranian nation and an end to the massive, systemic violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in this unfortunate country for more than a decade. As co-chairman of the Friends of a Free Iran group in the European Parliament, he provided space for Iranian dissidents to express their opposition to the ruthless Islamic regime. This, in connection with Putin’s Russia, threatens the whole world, not only his own nation. Unfortunately, the West realised too late what a terrible “Empire of Evil” was born in the Middle East.
British counterintelligence was absolutely clear in its latest report: highly trained Iranian agents are operating at full steam on British soil, plotting assassinations and kidnappings of people who oppose their work. These are death threats, and the EU should not stand by them. Well, something small happened. The European institutions, especially the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, unanimously condemned Iran’s threats to the European Parliament and struck back at the evil empire by banning the highest representatives of the Iranian regime from operating in the EU.
What about the Slovenian authorities? The SDS parliamentary group led by Jelka Godec asked Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon a question about the threatened safety of Dr Milan Zver. After all, this is the first Slovenian politician in history to be labelled a “terrorist” and, considering everything, is in real danger. Not to mention the safety of his immediate and extended family. It is enough to recall the cases of poisoning in English pubs by Russian agents or the planning of bombings by Iranian diplomats on Belgian and French territory. Unfortunately, the response of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was rather meek and wrapped in phrases. Minister Fajon has only recently condemned human rights violations in Iran, which has been rocked for months by severe violence against people who only want basic human rights, e.g., free female hair blowing in the wind.
Let me end by admitting that today’s column was initially planned as a satire, but after a deeper reflection and thinking of Milan, who has become a “terrorist” according to the judgment of the murderous regime, I do not feel like laughing. You may say that the writing is too personal, but believe me, the sense of threat and danger that comes from blinded fanatics is not pleasant at all. Despite everything, I believe that the last hour is ticking for the Iranian regime, which will surely come sooner or later. After all, the footage from the World Cup in Qatar, where the Iranian national football team was meaningfully silent during the playing of the Iranian national anthem in the first match, also convinces me of this. Of course, it is still the anthem of a murderous regime that is at the mercy of the lives of its people and the lives of all those who support freedom and democracy in one of the oldest and most respected human civilisations.