French President Emmanuel Macron appears to be following the footsteps of former US President Barack Obama when it comes to appeasing the top state sponsor of terrorism, the Islamic Republic of Iran. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
French President Emmanuel Macron appears to be following the footsteps of former US President Barack Obama when it comes to appeasing the top state sponsor of terrorism, the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In a recent development, the French government offered $15 billion to bail out the Iranian government from US sanctions, and a plea to "restart negotiations." The Iranian government was most likely thrilled; a headline of a major Iranian state-controlled media outlet, Abrar Eqtesadi read: "Iran to receive $15 billion line of credit!"
This development is evidently exactly what the Iranian regime had been hoping for. Tehran has been blackmailing the EU to provide it with the financial means that would enable it to skirt the US sanctions.
Before the French government's offer, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, had threatened that if the EU did not assist his government, Tehran will further violate the terms of the nuclear deal. Rouhani stated:
"If Europeans can purchase our oil or pre-purchase it and we can have access to our money, that will ease the situation and we can fully implement the deal... otherwise we will take our third step."
From the mullahs' perspective, France surrendering to Tehran's demand clearly indicated that their blackmailing tactic had worked. On France's part, offering Tehran billions of dollars of credit is a compromise too far: France appears to be bowing to Iran's nuclear extortion. France is submitting to Iran's demands to do more to keep the deal alive, while Tehran is clearly doing less.
In another development, the French government has also effectively been attempting to implement a special-purpose vehicle, INSTEX, that will allow countries to continue trading with Iran, despite US sanctions. Its implementation, however, has been fraught with difficulties.
Has Macron forgotten that he is aiding top state sponsor of terrorism? Has he forgotten that the Iranian government was behind a major bomb plot targeting an Iran opposition rally in Paris in June 2018, which fortunately failed? Is he trying to bribe Iran not to attempt future terrorist attacks on French soil?
After numerous investigation, France's intelligence services acknowledged that Tehran had indeed behind the planned attack:
"Behind all this was a long, meticulous and detailed investigation by our (intelligence) services that enabled us to reach the conclusion, without any doubt, that responsibility fell on the Iranian intelligence ministry."
As Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated recently:
"I call on the leaders of Europe: Stop financing the terrorist regime that is financing terrorism against you on your soil. Enough with the policy of appeasement and weakness regarding Iran."
Has Macron forgotten that he is helping and appeasing a state leading in human rights violations? In 2018, according to Javaid Rehman, the UN expert on human rights in Iran, at least 273 people were executed in Iran, and 6,000 over ten years, according to Iran Human Rights.
The Iranian government ranks second (China ranks first) when it comes to the absolute number of people that it executes, but ranks first for the execution of people per capita. Because of a lack of transparency in the Iranian regime, the unofficial number of those executed is believed to be even higher.
In addition, the use of cruel and inhuman punishment is also on the rise in Iran; according to Amnesty International, the use of various forms of torture such as amputation and flogging has been increasing at an alarming rate.
Macron also fails to recognize that the nuclear deal never contained or adequately addressed Iran's multifaceted threats, which include but are not limited to: The arming and financing of terror and militia groups in the region; intervening in the internal affairs of regional countries; pursing a sectarian agenda by pitting Shiites and Sunnis against each other; carrying out cyber attacks against other nations; and committing human rights violations inside Iran and abroad through its proxies.
Iran's destabilizing behavior and terrorist activities demand a strong response from the French President. By surrendering to Iran's extortion, France is failing to curb the regime's regional and global ambitions and is, in effect, giving it a green light to continue its march toward becoming a nuclear-weapons-breakout force.
Rather than appeasing the ruling mullahs, it is time for Macron to focus his diplomatic and political efforts on countering the clear and present danger with which the Iranian regime's aggressive policies threaten the world.
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