Struan Stevenson, Former MEP and the Coordinator of Campaign for Iran Change, holds his book on his experience with MEK, “Self Sacrifice”.
On June 6th, UPI published an article from Struan Stevenson entitled, “Iran’s mullahs press the panic button”. In the article, Struan Stevenson describes the anxiety and panic evident in the Iranian regime following the collapse of the nuclear deal.
Following the US withdrawal from the deal, European companies faced a decision: continue trading with Iran and risk the wrath of the US State Department or follow suit and cut ties. As it looks increasingly inevitable that European companies are going to follow the lead of the US, Stevenson suggests that the mullahs have “pressed the panic button”.
In a desperate attempt to salvage the deal, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif pleaded with the EU to “make up for Iran’s losses”. His comments were echoed by the supreme leader Khamenei.
Khamenei initiated work on a new centrifuge-assembly center. The site at Natanz was one of the many top-secret nuclear sites exposed by the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).
The Flawed Deal
The nuclear deal that Khamenei and the mullahs are so desperately trying to save was flawed from the outset. It removed sanctions against the Iranian regime and unlocked more than US$150 billion in financing for the regime. Rather than spend this money investing in its people or economic future, instead the regime plowed the money into destabilizing the Middle East. The Iranian regime exported their Quds Force and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to carry out their brand of violence and terrorism in other conflicts in the region.
The violent, terror groups have been present in the Syrian and Iraq conflicts. According to Stevenson, the Iranian regime has also funneled funds to Houthi rebels in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Violence at Home
The regime’s brand of violence and repression has not only been present abroad. At home, the mullahs used the money to crack down on dissidents and public protests. In his article, Stevenson described how recent months have seen vast uprisings taking place across Iran, involving truck drivers, civil servants, teachers, investors, and laborers.
The regime’s response has been brutal. Hundreds of dissidents have been killed and executed. More than 8,000 have been arrested and detained by the regime, several of which have been tortured while in custody.
Human rights organizations have condemned the Iranian clerical regime. Iran now leads the world in state executions per capita, with more than half of global state executions taking place on Iranian soil. The situation has deteriorated so much that seven Iranian prisoners wrote an open letter to the government, risking their lives by calling hanging “murder by the government, in all circumstances”.
Despite the appalling situation in Iran and destabilizing effect the regime is having on the wider Middle East region, European governments have been reluctant to cut ties with the Iranian regime. Stevenson says European companies “will secure new, rich business deals, while political prisoners dangle from the gallows.” The EU seems content to put financial gain above Iranian human rights, he emphasized.
Stevenson, as well as the MEK and the leader of Iran opposition, Maryam Rajavi, have urged the EU to acknowledge the severity of the situation in Iran. The Iranian regime brokers terrorism across the Middle East, causing thousands of deaths both in Iran and abroad.
The nuclear deal was inadequate. It gave concessions to the regime but failed to prevent them advancing their nuclear ambitions or curbing their missile programs. Stevenson finished his article by urging the European nations to back the Iranian people instead of the regime. He said, “we should back the Iranian people who want rid of this fascist dictatorship and who yearn for Iran to become a peaceful and prosperous partner in the global family of nations.”