Former Vice-President of European Parliament Urges the West to Take Stronger Action Against the Iranian Regime
Alejo Vidal-Quadras, the former Vice-President of the European Parliament, wrote an op-ed for Eurasia Review on the need for international sanctions against Iran.
Vidal-Quadras outlined the European Union’s recent decision to impose sanctions against the Iranian Intelligence Ministry (MOIS) after it plotted an assassination attempt against an Iranian dissident living in Copenhagen.
He also charted the string of terror plots that have emerged from the MOIS over the last 12 months, including a failed attempt to detonate a car bomb at an event in Paris, and the arrest of two Iranian operatives that planned to attack a compound in Albania where 3,000 members of the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) live.
Following the attempted terror attacks, France expelled several diplomats and froze MOIS assets. An Iranian diplomat believed to be the mastermind behind the foiled plot, Assadollah Assadi, is awaiting prosecution in Belgium.
The resulting investigation launched by French authorities found that senior members of the Iranian leadership were behind the Paris plot. It found that the Iranian regime’s diplomatic infrastructure, including European embassies and consulate buildings, had been involved in the planning process and harbored terrorists who would carry out the attacks.
Vidal-Quadras quotes a Belgian judiciary official who told reporters,
“nearly all Iranian diplomats in Europe are in fact members of the Iranian secret service.”
A Move Welcomed by the Iranian Opposition
Following the EU’s announcement on Tuesday that it would be imposing sanctions against the MOIS, “the NCRI quickly released a statement calling for further action,” Vidal-Quadras writes.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran, or NCRI, is the umbrella group of the MEK and, along with its leader, president-elect Maryam Rajavi, is one of the most outspoken critics of the Iranian regime.
I call on the people of the world to support the Iranian people’s resistance and uprising to overthrow despotism, religious discrimination, and a regime which is the central banker of terrorism and the enemy of peace and freedom in the region and the world.#Iran#FreeIran pic.twitter.com/vmCC5NPbIP
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) January 9, 2019
Its statement in response to the EU sanctions read,
“it is time for the EU to adopt a firm policy towards the mullah’s regime by expelling all of its mercenaries and agents from Europe.”
The First Step Towards Meaningful Action
Vidal-Quadras echoed the words of the MEK and the Iranian opposition. He called the sanctions, “a positive sign,” and, “a symbol of an ongoing trend toward greater recognition of the Iranian threat.”
However, Vidal-Quadras acknowledged that “that trend is still proceeding at too slow a pace. Meanwhile, the danger is growing much more quickly.” He cited the presence of further terrorist plots targeting Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, and Germany that were disrupted in 2018. He said, “Europe cannot count on its luck holding out over the long term, especially if lawmakers fail to take measures that will truly disrupt the regime’s terrorist infrastructure.”
The terror attacks have been targeted against the MEK and the Iranian resistance movement. As domestic protests increase in volume and intensity, the Iranian regime is lashing out at the MEK abroad. As a result, Vidal-Quadras says,
“the clerical regime is desperate to undermine any and all networks of support for domestic activism.”
“Under these circumstances,” Vidal-Quadras continued, “Iranian expatriate communities in every corner of the world are potential targets, and their host countries are in severe danger of suffering collateral damage alongside the dire insult of having their autonomy violated by terrorists dispatched by the Iranian government.”
It is in this context that Vidal-Quadras calls for “the expulsion of Iranian diplomats, the implementation of stronger sanctions, and other such firm policies.” He argues, these measures, “will not only help defend the Western world against Iran-backed terrorism, but it will also help the Iranian people to even more strongly assert their demands for civic freedoms and democratic governance.”