Even though the Iranian regime has been increasing its military support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine – a gift that poses a significant threat to the European Union – the EU's appeasement policy toward the ruling mullahs of Iran barrels on.
It is shocking that the EU continues to trade with the predatory regime of Iran, openly referred to as the "world's worst state sponsor of terrorism." The Tehran Times bragged in a recent report that Iran's exports to the EU have gone up "28% in 9 months on year".
"The Eurostat's data show that Iran exported commodities worth €799 million to the union in the nine-month period of this year, while the figure was €623 million in the same time span of the previous year....
"According to the Eurostat, the total value of trade between Iran and the European Union reached €3.947 billion in January-September 2022, while the figure was €3.025 billion in the same period of 2021.
"Iran exported €72 million worth of goods to the EU in September, while importing €472 million from the mentioned union. The value of the Islamic Republic's exports to the EU stood at €68 million last September and the imports from the union were reported to be €308."
Iran's rising exports to the EU are increasing the regime's revenues and most likely assisting it to supply more weapons to Russia. Does the EU know that the Russian President Vladimir Putin has received huge support for Moscow's invasion of Ukraine from the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei? Iran has been supplying kamikaze drones to Russia. That is why the Ukrainian foreign ministry reportedly stripped Iran's ambassador in Kyiv of his accreditation and reduced the embassy's diplomatic staff there.
The EU's appeasement of the ruling mullahs continues even though the EU itself acknowledged that the Iranian regime was indeed "provid[ing] military support for Russia's unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine" through the "development and delivery of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Russia". As British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly noted in a statement:
"These cowardly drone strikes are an act of desperation. By enabling these strikes, these individuals and a manufacturer have caused the people of Ukraine untold suffering."
The EU, however, is allowing the Islamic Republic to act with impunity. That is most likely why Iran has sent troops to Crimea to assist Russia in its attacks on Ukraine's infrastructure and civilian population , as well as to increase the effectiveness of the suicide drones.
The Biden administration is also not putting any pressure on the EU to stop its business dealings with Iran's ruling clerics, even though the Biden administration acknowledged that it had evidence that Iranian troops were "directly engaged on the ground" in Crimea supporting Russian drone attacks. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby stated:
"[T]he systems themselves were suffering failures and not performing to the standards that apparently the customers expected. So the Iranians decided to move in some trainers and some technical support to help the Russians use them with better lethality."
Iran's theocratic rulers also recently agreed to send ballistic missiles and even more drones to Russia. Iran has the largest and most diverse ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky:
"In eight months of full-scale war, Russia has used almost 4,500 missiles against us. And their stock of missiles is dwindling. This is why Russia went looking for affordable weapons in other countries to continue terror. It found them in Iran."
The European Union would be well-advised to listen to what Winston Churchill famously warned when it comes to appeasing the aggressor:
"Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last. All of them hope that the storm will pass before their turn comes to be devoured. But I fear -- I fear greatly -- the storm will not pass. It will rage and it will roar, ever more loudly, ever more widely. It will spread to the South; it will spread to the North."
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