By Shahriar Kia
Relations between Iran and the US changed dramatically following the nationwide anti-regime uprising that began in December 2017, where Iranian protesters loudly advocated for regime change and the US publically supported the people’s right to protest and put in place a policy of altering the Regime’s behaviour through a “maximum pressure” campaign.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used his first speech in office in 2018 to declare that Iran had to withdraw its forces from Syria, end its support for regional proxies (i.e. Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis), end production of long-range missiles, halt uranium enrichment, and agree to better inspections of its nuclear facilities.
And this hasn’t fizzled away. Throughout 2018, the US has increased sanctions and diplomatic pressure against Iran, while encouraging allies to do the same.
Earlier this month, Victoria Coates, Deputy Assistant to Donald Trump and Senior Director for the Middle East, explained that Trump’s Iran Strategy was focused on obtaining “systemic change” by limiting Iran’s ability to destabilise the world through terrorism, missiles, or interference in the political affairs of other nations.
She advised that Iran was targeting Europe and the Middle East through disinformation campaigns, cyber attacks, and terrorism, so those governments should seek to place sanctions against Iran in order to force the mullahs back to the negotiating table for a new deal about all of Iran’s malign behaviour.
Now, the EU has tried to subvert the US sanctions with a special financial mechanism, which as of writing is still not up and running, but many European businesses recognise their ties to the US as being far more important than their ties to Iran, so it’s unclear how well the mechanism will work.
However, the more important question is why Europe would do this? We’ve already heard from the US that Iran is targeting Europe, but this is backed up by European intelligence agencies and governments.
At the French National Assembly on February 14, the Parliamentary Committee for a Democratic Iran called for a firmer EU-wide policy on the Iranian Regime for its terrorist threats and human rights abuses.
MP Hervé Saulignace reminded us that several European intelligence agencies and governments have, in the past year alone, said that Iran has been involved in assassinations or terror plots on European soil.
This was agreed to by Maryam Rajavi, President of the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), who called on the French government to announce a bold policy of supporting the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom.
She said: “The mullahs are badly in need of political and commercial relations with Europe. Nonetheless, they cannot forgo terrorist operations in the heart of Europe because they are much weaker than is conceived; they do not know of any other way but to suppress and to create a crisis.”