By Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
The Iranian regime’s terrorist activities appear to be on the rise on European soil. This issue is intriguing due to the fact that the EU has been pursuing appeasement policies toward the Islamic Republic, such as introducing various mechanisms in order to assist the Iranian leaders in circumventing the US primary, and upcoming secondary, sanctions.
Tehran seems to have established formidable terror cells across Europe. Most recently, Iran’s attacks have been detected in Northern Europe, in the Scandinavian country of Denmark. Danish officials have accused Tehran of attempting to carry out a terrorist plot by assassinating an Iranian-Arab opposition figure — the leader of the Danish branch of the separatist Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz.
In such incidents, several of the regime’s institutions play critical roles. These include the Ministry of Intelligence (Ettela’at), spies and agents recruited by the regime, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as Iran’s embassies and some diplomats.
It is important to point out that the Islamic Republic has a long history of assassinations and terror plots against those who oppose the regime’s policies. But the latest series of such incidents on European soil has shown significant signs of increasing in intensity.
Denmark’s reaction has been a correct step forward. Unlike some European governments that have decided to disregard or turn a blind eye to Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism, Copenhagen has taken several steps to send a robust message to the Iranian leaders. For example, the Iranian ambassador, Morteza Moradian, was immediately summoned by the Danish government and Denmark is currently pushing the EU and its allies to impose sanctions on the Iranian regime. Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen re-emphasized the seriousness of Iran’s terror 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.”
This is the second significant terror plot this year that the Iranian regime appears to have been involved in. Four months ago, Europeans officials foileda terrorist attack that targeted a large Free Iran convention in Paris, which I and many high-level speakers — including former US House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, ex-New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird — attended.
An Iranian diplomat and several other individuals of Iranian origin were arrested in France, Belgium and Germany. French officials came to the conclusion that the Iranian regime was behind the bomb plot. Subsequently, Paris froze the assets of Iran’s intelligence agency and two of its agents. If Tehran was to have succeeded in carrying out this terrorist plot, it would have been an unspeakable tragedy because tens of thousands of dissidents and human rights defenders were at the convention.
European governments must take a tougher stance toward Iran’s ruling clerics. Governments that appease Tehran and improve ties with it are not necessarily immune from its malignant and aggressive foreign policy.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
This series of assassinations and attack plots highlight the fact that the Iranian regime will resort to any act of terrorism in order to achieve its fundamentalist, extremist and revolutionary objectives. The theocratic establishment of Iran continues to be the top state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
Furthermore, this ought to be a warning to the EU. European governments must take a tougher stance toward Iran’s ruling clerics. Governments that appease Tehran and improve ties with it are not necessarily immune from its malignant and aggressive foreign policy.
In fact, Iran’s latest terror plots in Europe reveal that those leaders who are enhancing ties with Tehran despite its terrorist activities are inadvertently making their countries more vulnerable to the Iranian regime’s destructive behavior and terrorist acts.
In addition, Tehran has long been violating international norms with impunity, which is helping Ettela’at to more successfully recruit and employ spies and agents in other nations.
The latest series of terror plots is also a warning to governments around the world that, not only does Tehran employ spies and agents in foreign countries, but it utilizes its embassies and diplomats as coordinators for terrorist acts.
It is time for the EU to wake up and halt its appeasement polices toward the Iranian regime. The EU ought to be cognizant of the fact that the Islamic Republic will not alter the two core pillars of the regime’s revolutionary ideology: Sponsoring and committing terrorist acts, and carrying out assassinations across the world. Pursuing appeasement policies with the Iranian regime and disregarding its sponsorship of terrorism and belligerent foreign policy will only embolden and empower Tehran’s destructive behavior.
To send a robust message to the Iranian regime for its series of assassinations and attack plots, it is incumbent on Denmark and other European governments to cut diplomatic ties with Tehran and impose sanctions.
- 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