The Regime’s Outward Confidence is All Smoke and Mirrors
The former European Minister for Poland and current Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Ryszard Czarnecki, published an op-ed in the Eurasia Review ahead of the Warsaw summit.
The op-ed reveals that the Iranian regime’s external bravado ahead of the summit which will focus explicitly on instability in the Middle East is nothing more than bluster.
Czarnecki points to the Iranian regime’s response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s calls for an “Arab NATO” to confront and curb Iranian influence in the region. Following the announcement of the Warsaw summit, Ali Shamkhani, the head of the regime’s Supreme National Security Council mocked Pompeo publicly and downplayed the effect of US sanctions.
“When someone who says ‘sanctions with maximum pressure’ is reduced to holding ‘seminars and conferences’, it only means that he has lost the upper hand,” Shamkhani said.
His comments were echoed by the regime’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, who called the summit “a desperate circus”.
A Projection of Strength to Hide Internal Vulnerabilities
“There is certainly no basis for [the] Islamic Republic of Iran to dismiss it [the summit] ahead of time, other than to broadcast a show of strength and unfounded confidence,” Czarnecki writes. “In fact, that is rather transparently the intention behind… Iran’s response. And it betrays the fact that it is the regime, not the US or any of its allies, that is “desperate” and “confused”.”
The Iranian regime is in the grip of intense internal unrest and international scrutiny. A wave of protests, organized by the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), has engulfed the country. Following a spate of foiled terror attacks on European soil, Iranian diplomatic activities abroad are under the microscope, and US sanctions are starting to ripple across the Iranian economy.
The French government initially imposed sanctions on Iran after Belgian authorities foiled a state-sponsored terror attack due to being carried out in June on the outskirts of Paris. Then, in the wake of an assassination attempt carried out by regime agents against a dissident in Denmark, the Danish government pressured the EU to adopt sanctions against the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), which it subsequently did.
There is a distinct sense across the international community that the decades-old policies of appeasement towards to the mullahs from both European and US leaders are coming to an end.
This has been celebrated among the Iranian resistance. The president-elect of the Iranian opposition, Maryam Rajavi, commended the West taking steps towards “rectifying and ending the disastrous policy of appeasement.”
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) January 22, 2019
With appeasement slowly dying, the Iranian regime finds itself increasingly isolated. Czarnecki writes, “in direct contrast to the narrative being peddled by Iranian officials, it strengthens the White House’s “upper hand.””
While it is still unclear over the extent of European nations’ participation in the Warsaw summit, and their role in a broader anti-Iran coalition headed by the United States, Czarnecki concludes, “most of the current evidence points to that shift being embraced as [a] model for Western democracies and Iran’s global adversaries. But until that happens, the possibility remains that Iran’s propaganda about successful defiance of Western power— presently just a fantasy— could become real in the face of European inaction.”