Austria’s Deputy Parliament Speaker Karlheinz Kopf (Austrian People’s Party, ÖVP) visited the Iranian regime in Tehran 22-25 October. Kopf met with Holocaust denier Ali Larijani and was received with an anti-Israel tirade by the head of the Expediency Discernment Council and former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Kopf downplayed Iran’s disastrous human rights situation and sad execution record during his trip. To Austria’s Press Agency APA Kopf said he did not come to Iran to ‘moralize’ and instead criticized the United States and still existing sanctions against the Iranian regime.
The Austrian politician’s courtship of the Iranian regime and STOP THE BOMB’s criticism made some international headlines. “Kopf’s statements during his visit might have been drafted by his Iranian hosts,” wrote Ben Cohen for the JNS. In the Commentary Magazine, Michael Rubin argued that Kopf’s remarks “may have taken European cynicism and its cowardly approach toward human rights and moral clarity to a new level.”