On Monday the European Union made a historic decision: The oil embargo against the Iranian regime is finally coming. Since the summer of 2010 the EU has been gradually living up to its responsibility. As the Iranian regime's largest trade partner Europe always knew that it holds the key in its hands to put an end to Iran's clandestine nuclear weapons program. It took them long to use it.
Almost too long. But I'm an optimist, as I said in an radio interview with Deutschlandradio Kultur , a German radio station, early Monday morning; I try to see the glass as half-full. I therefore truly believe that this is the ultimate strategic move to stop the Iranian regime's nuclear program. The major source of finance for Iran's nuclear weapons program is its oil revenue. It is as simple as that: Hit them where the money is and it will be their collapse.
The rising awareness in Europe that this terrible Iranian regime prevents any kind of diplomatic solution in this conflict has led to an even more powerful conclusion: Iran's nuclear threat will end as soon as this regime ends.
Not only was this a historic move by the EU, but European diplomats have also chosen a remarkable day for Iranians. Monday -- January 23 -- was Neda Agha Soltan's birthday, the bold and exceptional young lady killed in the most barbaric way in the summer of 2009. Neda means voice in Persian, and while we Iranians around the globe have lost this courageous woman tragically, the voices of millions of young Iranians inside the country continue to prosper and remain visible.
The oil embargo and sanctions against Iran's central bank come at a time when Iran's civil society is literally entering into a new democratic uprising. Iranians describe the atmosphere inside the country as the silence before a new storm. And while the EU was well prepared to ratchet up effective sanctions against Iran I'm asking myself if Europe is prepared for democracy promotion as well? It should be -- soon.
After all, when President Obama stated a historic silence in the summer of 2009, when Iran's democratic revolution began, it was Europe that found strong supportive words. This time European leaders should follow strong words with immediate strong action. The young and democratic voices of Iran need them more than ever.