Paris protests Iran's Rouhani...sort of
With the memory of the recent slaughter in Paris by Muslim terrorists of various backgrounds still fresh in their minds, plus the recent first anniversaries of the killings at Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket serving as additional reminders of Muslim terrorism, a surprising coalition of French groups mounted a small demonstration opposing Iranian president Hassan Rouhani's visit to France. (Well, okay, the French being the French, they weren't too upset about the terrorist-caused Jewish deaths in the supermarket, feeling they're understandable. But then again, so does Secretary of State John Kerry.) The opposing demonstration was organized by left-wing groups, labor unions, exiled Iranians, and even some of France's leading papers, according to a report in the Times of Israel.
Many of the participants held aloft photos of Iranian activists imprisoned in Iran or activists executed there in the past two years, since Rouhani was elected president. ...
The demonstration joins a massive campaign in French media and social networks against Rouhani's visit. The campaign focuses on the violation of human rights in Iran and on its support for terrorism.
France's main newspapers – Le Monde, Le Figaro and Liberation — all published over the past two days editorials stating that Iran has not changed and has not yet become a progressive and liberal country with which France can renew relations, especially against the backdrop of Iranian ties with Hezbollah's military wing and its involvement in the Syrian civil war.
Several other demonstrations have been scheduled for Thursday, including a large rally, organized by several Jewish groups, that is set to take place outside of the French senate. NGOs dedicated to human rights and women's rights and student organizations are also planning to hold protests.
Not that this will influence the French government. As I mentioned, the French are...well, the French.
Thierry Coville, an expert on the Iranian economy, told The Times of Israel that French business people have been waiting eagerly for 10 years for relations with Tehran to be renewed.
"When the sanctions were imposed, the French companies left Iran," he said. "Some of them, like Peugeot, had to lay off thousands of workers and even shut down plants. The French automobile and energy sectors relied heavily on the Iranian market, which was the largest one for French exports outside of the European Union."
So the lefties and the labor unions will soon come around to Iran with new jobs to offer their members, and forget the recent unpleasantness. And the newspapers will be happy. And if things don't work out, the French can always rewrite history, as they did post-World War ll, twisting their collaboration into resistance.