By Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
Pressure has been building against the Iranian regime to levels not witnessed since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979. This time France, which appeared to have a benign relationship with Iran, is exerting the pressure.
France considerably improved bilateral ties, and President Emmanuel Macron recently lobbied in Washington in favor of Iran. Yet Tehran did not reciprocate and showed no mercy on Paris. The French government has publicly linked Tehran to a terrorist plot in Paris that was foiled in June.
This is significant because it demonstrates that governments that appease Tehran and improve ties with it are not necessarily immune from its malign and aggressive foreign policy. In fact, leaders who are enhancing ties with Tehran are inadvertently making their countries more vulnerable to its destructive behavior and terrorist acts.
The Paris plot targeted the “Free Iran” convention that I and many senior US, European and Middle Eastern officials attended and spoke at. Tens of thousands of people, including women and children, were there too. An Iranian diplomat and several individuals of Iranian origin were arrested in various European countries, including France, Belgium and Germany.
France’s foreign, interior and finance ministers said in a joint statement that a terrorist plot of “such extreme seriousness on French territory could not be let go without a response… France has taken preventive, proportionate and targeted measures.” They added: “France reiterates its determination to fight terrorism, especially on its own territory.” Paris has also frozen the assets of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry.
The terrorist plot in Paris linked to Iran demonstrates that governments that pursue appeasement policies toward the Iranian regime are not necessarily immune from its malignant and aggressive foreign policy.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
Tehran has tried to use its so-called moderate politicians to totally dismiss its involvement, but it does not hesitate to resort to terrorism to pursue its hegemonic ambitions. The link between Tehran and the terrorist plot should come as no surprise since the theocratic establishment continues to be the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism.
The involvement in the plot of an Iranian diplomat based in Europe, and several people connected to him, should teach governments three important lessons. Firstly, Iran can use its embassies and diplomats as important sources for coordinating terrorist acts. For example, last year Kuwait expelled Iran’s ambassador and 14 other diplomats due to links to a “spy and terror” cell, and ordered the closure of Iran’s cultural and military missions.
Secondly, Tehran has long been violating international norms with impunity. Thirdly, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has become successful in recruiting and employing spies and agents in other nations. Tehran will not alter the core pillar of its ideology: Sponsoring and committing terrorist acts worldwide.
- Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist. He is a leading expert on Iran and US foreign policy, a businessman, and president of the International American Council. Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh
This article was first published by arabnews