Poland and Hungary broke ties with other EU countries in Tehran last week and sent their envoys to a formal reception with President Ibrahim Raisi to celebrate the 44th.m Iranian Revolution Anniversary.
The diplomatic encounter is controversial as Tehran has cracked down on massive anti-regime street protests with deadly violence – and even resorted to executing protesters. Iran’s international standing has also been increasingly poisoned over the past year by Tehran’s supply of Shahed kamikaze drones to Russia, which it flies over civilian targets in Ukraine.
A series of photographs published online by an Iranian news outlet and verified by Politico show the two ambassadors — Poland’s Maciej Falkowski and Hungary’s Zoltan Varg-Hasjonits — sitting behind Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdullahian at Thursday’s ceremony. As well as in the reception line (the ceremony was held before the anniversary on Saturday.) in one of photographFałkowski can be seen shaking Rice’s hand with a slight bow.
Hillel Neuer, executive director of United Nations Watch, said: ‘How can you – beat, blind, torture, rape and kill innocent protesters for shouting ‘women, life, freedom’ – to bow before the butchers of Tehran? an advocacy group asked Poland’s foreign ministry on Twitter.
Representatives for Poland and Hungary did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
While there is no formal agreement among EU members not to attend events such as photographing ambassadors, there is an informal understanding among the bloc’s capitals to work together on symbolic measures, such as boycotting high-profile public events. to document their shared frustration with Tehran’s crackdown on protesters.
That Hungary, which has earned a reputation as the EU’s black sheep under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and is eager to deepen ties with Iran, would ignore such a consensus is not surprising. In fact, the Iranian government said that Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto also sent congratulatory messages on the anniversary of the revolution.
Poland, however, is a different story. Warsaw is among Ukraine’s staunchest supporters. Polish leaders argue that helping Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression is essential for both Poland’s and Europe’s own security. Iran’s military supplies to Ukraine would have generally made Poland one of the least likely countries to participate in the revolution’s celebrations.
To be sure, EU capitals’ informal boycott of Iranian events has less to do with Russia’s support for the country than with Russia’s treatment of protesters and women. The Iranian government also said it had received congratulatory messages from Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia on the anniversary of the revolution.
And like Hungary, Poland’s nationalist government is often at odds with its EU partners on issues big and small.
That said, Warsaw is usually at pains not to offend its most important ally – the United States.
Why Poland would allow its ambassador to bow to Iran’s president at an event celebrating the so-called Islamic Revolution, which resulted in the hostage-taking of more than 50 American diplomats, is a mystery.