Despite its Iran stance, Nobel Prize for the EU

10.14.12

Despite its Iran stance, Nobel Prize for the EU

10.14.12
Jennifer S AltmanJennifer S Altman

The Nobel Peace Prize is the most prestigious honor that can be awarded. The legacy of Alfred Nobel is so matchless and incomparable that more than one century after the first Nobel Prize was awarded, it is still the most exalted and esteemed prize conferred on people who work for the promotion and advancement of the sciences and global peace.

Many people dream of winning a Nobel Prize, without revealing this private aspiration to anyone. Chemists, physicists, medics, economists, authors, poets and activists who invest their whole life on a groundbreaking achievement which rightfully and truly deserves a Nobel Prize may witness the passage of years, without being recognized for their striking breakthroughs and accomplishments, either by the Nobel Foundation or by universities, organizations and groups which award honors.

Upon writing his will in 1895, Alfred Nobel thought it suitable to entrust the responsibility of awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to a Norwegian committee, because Norway did not have the same militaristic traditions as Sweden, and “at the end of the nineteenth century the Norwegian Storting (legislative assembly) had become closely involved in the Inter-Parliamentary Union and its efforts to resolve conflicts through mediation and arbitration,” according to the Nobel Committee website. Alfred Nobel realized the need for supporting and sponsoring global efforts aimed at fostering peace and tranquility around the world, and for this reason, he demanded that a group of five Norwegian lawmakers should decide the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize each year.

It’s not far from reality to note that the criteria for the endowment of the Nobel Peace Prize as stipulated by the Norwegian Nobel Committee has been usually politically motivated, which is not in line with the essence of Alfred Nobel’s will. There are people who were awarded the prize righteously for their sincere efforts to promote peace, encourage dialogue among the nations and reduce or abolish standing armies. But, let’s be fair: was the European Union really worthy of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize?

I really don’t know if this union has really contributed to fraternity and integrity between its 27 members throughout the past decades, but what I have personally witnessed in the past year is that this union has aggressively pursued punitive economic sanctions on Iran, affecting millions of civilians.

The European Union began to impose an oil embargo against Iran on July 1st as a result of direct pressure and lobbying from the United States in an effort aimed at paralyzing Iran’s nuclear program, and destabilizing Iran’s economy and pressuring Iran’s leadership into making political concessions.

As a result of these sanctions, the value of Iran’s currency, the rial, has dropped to its lowest level against the dollar in three decades. The country has been hit by staggering and overwhelming hyperinflation which according to Prof. Steve H. Hanke has increased the price of goods and commodities by 70 percent every month since the sanctions began to take effect and the country’s oil exports have decreased 600,000 to 800,000 barrels a day which means a 50 percent reduction in sales. Moreover, several international insurance companies, airliners and shipping lines have ceased cooperating with Iran as a result of the economic crisis which has encompassed the country.

As a result of the oil embargo and other financial restrictions imposed on Iran by the EU, Iranian families are unable to fund their students abroad and consequently, a large group of Iranian students studying in foreign universities are returning home. Sensitive medicine and pharmaceutical products which were previously imported from the foreign countries cannot find their way onto Iran’s markets and thousands of patients badly in need of medicines for such diseases as thalassemia, hepatitis, diabetes, different types of cancer, heart diseases and psychiatric disorders are facing serious problems.

Do European Union officials who now carry the grandiose accolade of the world’s most important prize for the promotion of peace recognize that the purchasing power of Iran’s middle-class has experienced an unimaginable free-fall in recent months and that the lives of average Iranians is on the verge of collapse.

Alfred Nobel wrote in his will, my capital should be “invested in safe securities by my executors, shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.” Is destroying Iran’s economy and ruining the lives of thousands of innocent civilians the magnum opus for which the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?

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