Iran has recently become more aggressive and breached the 300kg limit on enriched uranium, among several other malign actions. Pictured: The Isfahan uranium enrichment facility in Isfahan, Iran. (Photo by Getty Images)
The extent to which the European Union is willing to go in order to appease the ruling mullahs of Iran, is unfathomable. To witness the EU siding with the fundamentalist government of Iran rather than backing its old transatlantic partner, the United States, is a shock.
Since President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the flawed agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) , Iran's leaders have been consistently pushing for Europe to do more to appease them; more than it is capable of delivering.
First, the EU came up with a mechanism called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX). Its purpose was to shield the Iranian government from economic sanctions, in order to assist its ruling clerics -- and Europe -- in gaining more revenues.
Then, Iran became more aggressive and breached the 300kg limit on enriched uranium, among several other malign actions (here, here and here). The increased level of enrichment was a blatant violation of Iran's agreement and contrary to the shared international desire -- except for Iran's ayatollahs -- to de-escalate regional tensions.
The Trump administration rightfully classified the development as "nuclear blackmail", an example of what seems tantamount to a scarcely concealed, increasingly desperate effort to force the Europeans into persuading the United States to lift the sanctions against it.
Although Iran has clearly breached the JCPOA and although the International Atomic Energy Agency stated that Iran violated the JCPOA, the response from Europe has been muted. After a meeting with foreign ministers, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, said that the EU's focus remains to "keep the agreement in place", telling reporters that Europe will consider Iran to be "fully compliant" with the nuclear agreement.
Instead of reacting to the fact that Iran poses an enormous threat to the EU national security interests, the EU will more likely attempt to chart other paths to help the ruling mullahs of Iran. In recent years, since the JCPOA was reached between the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany) and the Islamic Republic, a series of assassination and terrorist plots across Europe, some successful and others not, have been traced back to Tehran.
On an evening in November 2017, as Ahmed Mola Nissire walked up to his home in The Hague, Netherlands, an assassin gunned him down right in front of his door. Nissire, a Dutch citizen of Iranian origin, was 52 years old, and a prominent figure in the Arab Struggle for the Liberation of Ahvaz, an activist group that fights for the formation of a separate state in Western Iran.
For the first time, Dutch authorities publicly announced that it was the Iranian government which commissioned the murder. Based on Nissire's resistance to Iran's tyrannical government, a target had been placed on his back, and his life was ended to further the goals of Iran's autocratic rulers -- whom the EU supports and shields.
Nissire's death is not an isolated case. Another of Tehran's political opponents, Ali Motamed, was killed under similar circumstances in Amsterdam in 2015.
European officials also foiled a terrorist attack that targeted a large Free Iran convention in Paris, attended in June 2018 by many high-level speakers -- including former US House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird.
An Iranian diplomat and several other individuals of Iranian origin were soon arrested in France, Belgium and Germany. After a thorough investigation, French officials concluded that the Iranian regime had been behind the bomb plot. If the terrorist attack had been successful, the loss of life would have been staggering, but the devastating toll it would have taken on the community that fights for human rights, would have been immeasurable. Now it is clear there is a target on the backs of those who stand up for freedom and human rights.
This certainly was not an isolated plot in Europe. Iran's attacks were also detected in 2018 in Denmark, where officials accused Tehran of attempting to assassinate one of its citizens. Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen emphasized the seriousness of the plot by saying:
"An Iranian intelligence agency has planned an assassination on Danish soil. This is completely unacceptable. In fact, the gravity of the matter is difficult to describe. That has been made crystal clear to the Iranian ambassador in Copenhagen today."
Despite these attacks, and attempted attacks, the EU, despite its ceaseless moral sanctimony, continues to soften its tone toward Iran, presumably out of a zeal for doing business even with a country designated the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism.
The more the EU appeases the Iranian government, the more it empowers it to pursue aggressive and terrorist activities.
The EU needs to stop appeasing the ruling mullahs of Iran who are consistently engaged in terror activities in Europe, and join its old transatlantic partner, the US, in putting even more pressure on Iran's fundamentalist government.
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