Europe’s Sanctions Are Welcome, Now A Change In Policies Is Required.
Europe introduced its own set of sanctions against Iran in what represented a small shift in policy towards the Iranian regime. Not since before the Iran nuclear deal has Europe employed sanctions against the Iranian Regime. The move signifies that European leaders may finally be awakening to the fact that the Iran nuclear deal has not altered Iran’s behavior and the Iranian regime is still the worlds leading state sponsor of terrorism.
The sanctions are rooted in the terrorist threat Iranian regime poses
In 2018, the Iranian regime’s state-sponsored terrorist machine increased its output dramatically. In March, a pair of Iranian regime agents were detained in Albania after it emerged the regime has orchestrated a bomb attack against the members of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the principal opposition group living in exile outside the Albanian capital of Tirana.
Shortly afterward, in June, the regime launched its most ambitious plan of the year. An Iranian diplomat working out of the regime’s embassy in Vienna provided a Belgian-Iranian couple with explosives and sent them to Paris to detonate a bomb at the MEK’s annual Grand Gathering.
The event was attended by more than 100,000 people, including dignitaries from the UK, the US, France, Germany, and Italy, amongst other nations. Belgian authorities foiled the attack at the eleventh hour, preventing hundreds and thousands of potential deaths. Following the attack, the French government froze assets belonging to the Iranian Intelligence Ministry and expelled two diplomats from the country.
In October, Denmark announced that it had discovered an Iranian plot to assassinate a political dissident living on Danish soil. The revelation prompted an outcry among the Danish public as protestors gathered in the capital to call for a firm response to Iranian aggression.
Most recently, the Dutch government revealed that it believes the Iranian government was behind the assassination of two Dutch citizens. The Dutch government said this week that it had evidence that the Iranian government had hired hitmen to carry out the assassinations.
Europe’s sanctions target the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS)
Europe’s latest sanctions target the MOIS, including the director general of the Iranian intelligence agency, Saeid Hashemi Moghadam. The targets have had their European assets frozen and have been added to Europe’s terror list.
In response to the announcement, Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif while admitting the regime’s role in terrorist attempts attacked the EU as regime’s usual way, to avoid responding to the crimes it has committed. Wall Street Journal Editorial, on its Wednesday Jauary 9 edition, writes:
“The new sanctions target an Iranian intelligence unit and two of its agents, including deputy minister and director general of intelligence Saeid Hashemi Moghadam. They have been added to Europe’s terror list and their assets will be frozen. Iranian Foregin Minister Javad Zarif on Twitter tried to justiry the attacks: “Accusing Iran won’t absolve Europe of responsibility for harboring terrorist”- his preferred word for anyone who opposes the regime.”
What is the next step?
While the sanctions against the MOIS unit and senior officials in the department are welcome, they will not stop the Iranian regime’s terrorist activities.
EU sanctions on the clerical regime are requisite to the fight on terrorism in Europe but they must be completed by blacklisting of the entire intelligence and IRGC apparatus and by prosecuting and expelling the regime's terrorist diplomats and mercenaries. #BlackListMOIS
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) January 8, 2019
To protect its citizens and national security interests, Europe must follow up with firmer action. Continuing to do business with the Iranian regime, whose economy is controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and other repressive organizations, any trade in Iranian markets will indirectly fund terrorist activities, including similar attempts trying to target the opposition.
@MARYAM_RAJAVI:The theocratic rgm’s strategy to survive&break out of crisis, is further crackdown&suppression inside #Iran,&more export of #terrorism,war&crises2 other countries.https://t.co/weeULW0hHl …@JY_LeDrian @ministerBlok @anderssamuelsen pic.twitter.com/i4ZlBK9Ei3
— kamran saghah (@kamransaghah) January 9, 2019
The regime has demonstrated that it has little or no regard for foreign sovereignty or the safety of European citizens. It will use terrorism as a weapon against its enemies, regardless of who is hurt or killed in the process.
The Iranian opposition has recommended blacklisting the MOIS and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, closing Iran’s embassies on European soil, refraining from issuing visas to the regime leadership, expelling Iranian agents and mercenaries, and ending ministerial meetings between European and Iranian officials.
Expelling Iranian diplomats and closing Iranian diplomatic offices and buildings must become a priority. Investigations in the wake of the 2018 terror attacks demonstrated that Iranian embassies on foreign soil were hotbeds of terror activities and were instrumental in the planning and execution of terror attacks.
Europe should follow their sanctions against the MOIS with tough economic sanctions, restricting Iranian trade and preventing companies from doing business with the ruthless and repressive regime.