As President Fischer noted, and as Prime Minister Renzi will no doubt agree, a democratic country cannot permit any curtailment of human rights. That principle ought to apply to the Iranian people as well as to Europeans, and it ought to never be subject to compromise, even when there is economic incentive to ignore repression and violence.
The idea of a springtime in relations between Iran and the rest of the world is fanciful, a false spring no less. A new, slightly warmer relationship between London and Tehran might indeed lead to scheduled BA flights... but I'm unconvinced that anything fundamental has changed or is likely to do so.
Let's be clear: wearing a niqab is not regarded as a religious requirement by the vast majority of Muslims. Even in President Rouhani's Iran, women do not cover their faces. It is a cultural tradition with its origins in the Arabian peninsula, exported by preachers who follow the teachings of wahhabism.
I was in London at the time, I think it was late evening, when my dad called and said that security forces had taken my sister. That was the first time I knew anything about her protest. My parents, who live in Tehran, were in shock. My sister had first been arrested outside the national stadium for protesting against an old rule that banned women from attending sporting events alongside men "for their own safety".
In the 19th century it was British democracy protesters being cut down, now it's Saudi bloggers and protesters being lashed and facing public decapitation. With the Foreign Secretary wanting to raise a cheer for British business in places like Iran and China, I think jailed activists around the world are in for a cheerless time.
If you thought the Suez crisis of 1956 was a long way away, consider that there were joint Russia-China-Iran naval exercises this year, the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1989 could be considered just a pause and the West versus the world's murkier and more dictatorial states is still a conflict in progress.