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Former Italian Foreign Minister Calls for Unity and International Pressure Against the Iranian Regime
Giulio Terzi, the former Italian Foreign Minister and former Italian ambassador to the United States, penned a piece for the Federalist on the need for international pressure against the Iranian regime.
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The article, entitled “Another Foiled Terror Plot Underscores the Need for Maximum Pressure on Iran”, laid out several key ways governments could assist the Iranian people and put the mullahs clerical regime under pressure.
A String of Failed Attacks
Terzi began by outlining the spate of foiled terror attacks on European soil that have been traced back to the Iranian regime’s leadership. The most recent of which was a foiled assassination attempt on Danish soil.
Following June’s failed Paris attack, in which a car laden with explosives was planned to detonate at the annual Grand Gathering of the Iranian opposition (MEK), the French authorities carried out an investigation into the regime’s terror capabilities.
At the conclusion of the investigation, the French government was able to conclude “without any doubt” that the Iranian regime had been involved in the planning and execution of the attack. As a result, Macron’s administration expelled an Iranian diplomat from the Paris embassy. It has also refused to name an ambassador to Tehran and seized assets held by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) held on French soil.
Terzi suggests that these high-profile terror plots “demonstrate a pattern of Iranian behavior that goes well beyond these two incidents”. In addition to the attack planned in Paris and the foiled assassination attempt in Denmark, there have been numerous attacks coordinated against the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) and its members around the globe.
One such plot came during the Persian New Year celebrations in Spring of 2018. Two regime agents were arrested in Albania. The pair were planning to attack the MEK’s compound in the Albanian capital of Tirana, where the organization’s members live in exile.
The Plots May Have Failed but the Threat is not Gone
Terzi reminds the West that just because these attacks were thwarted does not mean the Iranian threat is gone.
“Iranian proxies like Hezbollah have killed hundreds of Western nationals over the years”, he wrote. The regime’s behaviour has not changed. If anything, Tehran has intensified its terror activities.
To curb the regime and end its destabilizing effect in the Middle East and beyond, Terzi recommends a policy of “maximum pressure” on the Iranian regime. Western heads of states tried to resolve the issue through diplomatic channels. The nuclear deal negotiated under the Obama administration sought to bribe the regime into ending its nuclear program and financing of foreign terror groups. But the deal failed.
The mullahs “basked in the international legitimacy” they were afforded, Terzi writes. The agreement failed to bring peace or stability to the Middle East. Instead, it just unlocked financial aid that the mullahs could use to further repress its own population and intensify its military ventures abroad.
Terzi calls for a stronger stance against the regime. He cites the regime’s relentless persecution of the MEK and its leader, president-elect Maryam Rajavi as a reason why Europe and the US cannot stand idle.
Given the expanding protest movement inside Iran, Terzi suggests that Western governments pledge their support to the Iranian people. The MEK predicted that 2018 would be the year of protest and it has lived up to its name, with protests spreading across Iran’s key industries in a wave of discontent.
Terzi suggested that Western governments help the Iranian people “break through tough digital barriers erected by the regime in Iran”. The Broadcasting Board of Governors in the US is already doing this. It is expanding its reach to broadcast directly to the Iranian people.
A Unified Response
Terzi also called for a unified response from Western governments. “The more pressure Tehran faces from abroad, the more it will be compelled to focus on the fight within its borders”, he wrote.
As the latest round of US sanctions has come into effect, it remains unclear as to whether European governments will follow suit. If the EU does not, it could provide an outlet for the regime to bypass US sanctions, severely mitigating the effect they will have on leveraging the Iranian regime.
Terzi called on European governments to apply pressure to the regime in several key ways. Firstly, he suggests the closure of Iranian embassies on European soul that have been engaged in illegal activities. “All Iranian embassies in Europe known to have provided diplomatic cover for terrorism on the continent should be shut down”, he explained.
Following their closure, any Iranian agents and diplomats known to have been involved in the planning and execution of terror activities should be held to account and prosecuted. Finally, any companies or private organization is known to have aided and abetted the training or funding of terrorism should be heavily sanctioned.
Terzi’s message is very clear. The time for appeasement is over. Only through severe, concrete steps can the West apply pressure to the Iranian regime to bring it in line with international law and end its terror activities across the world.
Terzi ended the piece with a message of unity and optimism. “Hopefully, they are also concrete steps toward a goal we can all unite behind: an end to Iran’s terrorism, warmongering and domestic repression”.