The Trump administration's decision to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization is part of its tougher stance towards Iran's dark and hegemonic ambitions. Meanwhile, the European Union has chosen to help the ruling mullahs of Iran. Pictured: IRGC "ground commandos". (Image source: Tasnim/Wikimedia Commons)
The European Union, in an unfathomable move, has been taking the side of the Iranian government, and turning its back on its old transatlantic partner, the United States, which recently announced plans to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), reportedly to take effect this week.
The Trump administration has taken a tougher stance towards Iran's dark and hegemonic ambitions. Meanwhile, despite Iran's destructive behavior, such as support for terror and militia groups across the region, the European Union has chosen to help the ruling mullahs of Iran, ostensibly to maintain the flimsy, illegal, never-signed, unratified "nuclear deal" -- but possibly even more as an embarrassingly transparent attempt, if the EU could be embarrassed, to navigate around US economic and political pressure and continue doing business with Iran's regime.
This loyalty to a tyranny has taken place has despite terror and assassination plots that Iran has brought to the EU since the establishment of the nuclear deal, such as several political assassination attempts committed in the EU by Iran's agents.
One evening in November 2017, as Ahmad Mola Nissi returned to his home in The Hague, an assassin gunned him down at his front door. The 52-year-old Dutch citizen of Iranian origin had been a critic of the Iranian government and prominent figure in the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz. He had fought for the safety and liberation of others and was gunned down where he should have felt the safest.
The Dutch authorities publicly announced for the first time that it had "strong indications" the Iranian government had commissioned the murder.
Not only was Nissi targeted for his political beliefs, but, despite supposedly friendly dynamics between Iran and the EU, his murder was carried out on European soil.
His death is not an isolated case. Another of Tehran's political opponents, Mohammad Reza Kolahi Samadi, was killed in similar circumstances in Amsterdam in 2015. He had apparently been targeted for his opposition to the Iranian government the 1980s. Without any trial, without any valid proof, his life had been taken, again with complete disregard to the political alliance between the EU and Iran.
The evidence does not stop there. In fact, in recent years, a series of four assassination and terrorist plots across Europe, some successful and others not, have been traced back to Tehran. These include a foiled a terrorist attack in Paris in July of 2018 that targeted a large convention, attended by high-level speakers including former US House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. In another case -- in which an Iranian diplomat and several other individuals of Iranian origin were arrested in France, Belgium and Germany -- French officials concluded that the Iranian regime was behind a foiled bomb plot.
Iran's latest acts of terror in Europe reveal that those leaders who are appeasing Tehran, despite its terrorist plots, are most likely damaging their nations' national security and leaving their countries more vulnerable to the Iranian government's violent behavior.
Ever since the nuclear deal, Iran's destructive actions in its own surrounding region have also increased, as has its funding and arming of known terrorist sects or militia groups. These include Hezbollah, the Houthis and Hamas. The militant groups' indiscriminate firing of rockets into other countries has made peace in the region impossible.
Iran's series of assassinations and attacks highlights that its government will resort to acts of terrorism to achieve its fundamentalist, extremist and revolutionary objectives, such as sponsoring and funding terrorist groups, as well as inciting anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism.
The theocratic establishment of Iran -- the same Iran that the EU is aiding -- continues to be the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism.
The Iranian leaders are making a mockery of the EU, and benefiting from the chaos it sows throughout Europe, the Middle East and South America. If the EU does not change its position and continues its support of Iranian leaders and the nuclear deal, Tehran's aggressive policies in the Middle East will persist, and Tehran will keep on pursuing its subversive agenda of attacking Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States via Yemen, Israel through Syria and Lebanon, and the US via Venezuela.
While President Donald Trump may have his critics, his hard-line sanctions are the only kind of political message that Iran's leaders can understand. Coming into force last November, Trump's secondary sanctions have hit most of Iran's major industries, including oil, shipping and banking. Commercial relations with all blacklisted entities are prohibited. Anyone who trades with Iran can no longer trade with the US. This policy may seem harsh, but it is well-informed and ultimately can significantly damage the ruling clerics' ability to carry out their aggressive goals. This policy might also win the US back its leverage.
The more the EU appeases the ruling clerics of Iran, the more it will also empower them to continue carrying out terror and assassination plots on European soil. How long will the EU continue its misinformed, dangerous policy of kissing up to the mullahs? The EU instead, for its own security, would do better to suspend its business transactions with Iran for a while and commit itself instead to putting a stop to the Iranian government's unending rapacious behavior.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US Foreign Policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu