WOmid Nouripour doesn’t know what the fire in Evin prison is all about. “But what the whole world saw – nothing was done about it,” said the Frankfurt-born co-chair of the Greens in the federal government at the book fair. “Iran – where long?” is the name of the panel discussion in the book show pavilion on the wide square between the exhibition halls. It is their “central socio-political stage,” says Juergen Boos, director of the book fair, which organized the meeting together with the newly founded PEN Berlin at short notice: “We are in solidarity with the protest movement.” Because this is the case, Iran has its participation canceled at the weekend book show.
Nouripour knows all too well what Evin Prison means. His uncle, who taught him to read and write, was shot there. Now let the prisoners burn there too. “But it’s just a symbol.” It’s about fighting the structures of the regime that has come under pressure. He and his interlocutors collate what they hear from relatives, friends and contacts in the country. “Everyone is on the street,” says journalist Natalie Amiri. “We see a cross-section of society as a whole, in every province.” The protests are led by women and Generation Z, intrepid youth who have never had anything to give to the Islamic Republic. These are not women’s protests. They would take place with “frantic applause” from the men. The security forces reached their limits. “There is no longer any bargaining chip.” Regime change is required. “Nothing else.”
That could take time, counters Amiri’s colleague Deniz Yücel. “Dictatorships are usually tougher than democrats think,” says the chairman of PEN Berlin: “At some point, everyone is due anyway.” If the regime in Tehran doesn’t fall, Berlin and the German economy would soon want to continue as before: “Germany is the world champion of shabby deals and meaningless dialogue.”
“Pressure and pressure and even more sanctions”
The Greens and the federal government are trying to put pressure on Tehran, Nouripour counters. “Of course, there is more to it than what has happened so far.” That is why the Green Party Congress wants the Revolutionary Guards to be declared a terrorist group as a whole. If it is currently said that the most important thing is the turning point, the fight against Russia, that also means taking action against the Iranian drones that Putin uses in airstrikes against the Ukrainian civilian population: “That means pressure and pressure and even more sanctions.” the European Union has drafted the first sanctions, but the same applies here: “More must be done.”
A great many “classic papers” were circulating in the Foreign Office, which were averse to regime change and instead spoke out for the German tendency to “cemetery peace” mentioned by Nouripour’s interlocutors. “It has to stop,” he says: “The Foreign Minister knows that. I assume that she will hear the federal party conference and take it with her.” The event ends with the slogan that is heard again and again at the protests. Six Iranian women hold up a flag. They shout: “Women live freedom.”