Photo illustration by John Lyman

World News


European Approach Encourages Rogue Behavior by Iran

After escaping Iran because of its horrendous human rights situation, I have chosen Ireland to be my second homeland. But I’ve always been perplexed why Europe, which takes oppressed Iranians as refugees, simultaneously accommodates the very regime that is the source of chaos and instability in the region and beyond.

In their eagerness to strike nuclear and commercial deals with the regime, Europe has sacrificed too many of its values. It turns a blind eye to the mullahs’ egregious human rights record. Having attained a sense of impunity, the mullahs are now the number one per capita executioner in the world and the only remaining executioners of minors.

After 32 years, Western governments have not resoundingly condemned the Iranian regime for massacring 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, most of whom were affiliated with an Iranian opposition group. None of the officials involved in that heinous crime against humanity have been put on trial, and many of them, including the current head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, continue to occupy senior positions.

When Europe stayed quiet, the mullahs continued their massacre with impunity. In November 2019, at least 1,500 protesters, including teenagers, were horrifically gunned down in the streets. According to Amnesty International, thousands more were arrested, raped, and tortured.

When Europe stays quiet, the rulers of the Iranian regime become emboldened. In 2018, they showed the audacity to try to bomb an international gathering of Iranian expats near Paris, France. Astonishingly, they used a serving diplomat to deliver the bomb from Tehran and to mastermind the foiled operation.

That diplomat, Assadolah Assadi, was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Belgian court on February 4, along with three accomplices, the first such verdict for Europe in modern times.

According to a recent study by the Institute for Global Change, which was founded by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Iranian regime’s terrorist militias have expanded exponentially after Europe signed the nuclear deal with Iran in 2015.

Tony Blair himself said about the report’s findings: “This campaign is in furtherance of the Islamist ideology of the clerical regime in Iran, and unfortunately it is clear that it surged rather than abated in the years following the JCPOA in 2015.”

As an Irish-Iranian, I cannot understand Europe’s continued appeasement of Tehran. This becomes even more perplexing when one considers the fact that the regime is at its weakest point in history.

Like any other dictatorship, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is attempting to delay the regime’s inevitable downfall by closing in ranks. This was on vivid display during the 2020 parliamentary elections when Khamenei purged rival factions. In such circumstances, Khamenei is eager to quickly resume negotiations with the United States, and the Europeans are pushing for it.

The regime’s announcement of 20% uranium enrichment and the seizure of a South Korean ship are desperate attempts to make negotiations a priority for the Biden administration.

The reason for the regime’s desperation and haste for negotiations lies in two mass uprisings in 2016 and 2018. Khamenei was able to survive the revolts that spread to 200 cities only by using brute force and killing protesters. The Iranian regime’s intelligence service admits that the regime expected another uprising to take place in the summer of 2020, which could have led to the regime’s downfall.

But the coronavirus pandemic delayed the uprisings after it took countless victims throughout Iran. Khamenei’s refusal to import vaccines from the United States, France, and Britain is an attempt to cause further social paralysis in the hopes of delaying more uprisings.

The relentless and increasing number of executions in Iran indicate that the coronavirus pandemic alone has not averted the regime’s bid to overcome its deadly crises. Countless young activists have formed resistance units all over Iran. They destroy the regime’s symbols. The spread of resistance units has sounded alarm bells for Khamenei.

The nuclear agreement between Iran and the United States and Europe failed to contain the Iranian regime’s terrorism and belligerence.

Now, the geopolitics of the region have changed since the signing of the nuclear agreement in 2015. Iran’s influence in Lebanon and Iraq is being widely challenged. Regime forces in Syria have been bombed at least 500 times by Israel. Russia is pressuring Iran to reduce its influence in Syria even further.

Qassem Soleimani, the regime’s de facto No. 2 official, was eliminated in January 2020, thus weakening Iran’s presence in neighboring countries even further. In a potential new agreement between Iran and the United States and Europe, Iran’s ballistic missile program and its regional influence will be on the menu, making any possible deal much harder to obtain, if not impossible.

For any agreement with Iran to be successful, in addition to curbing Iran’s regional influence and terrorism, the regime’s human rights violations and incessant executions must also be addressed. Peace and security in the region will never be obtained if Iran continues to suppress its people and expand its terrorism outside Iran.