Last week, the Sunday Times reported that the Iranian regime is now hiring crime gangs in the UK, EU and US to murder dissidents. The newspaper said that security officials and counter-terrorism police in London have confirmed that the mullahs have turned their attention to mobilizing organised crime groups to carry out assassinations, in a bid to bypass the tight scrutiny their agents face following the introduction of tough Western sanctions. The warning follows similar claims by the head of MI5 that the British Security Service uncovered ten Iranian plots to kidnap or assassinate British residents last year. With the nationwide uprising in Iran now into its fifth month, the mullahs are becoming increasingly desperate. They have already killed over 750 protesters, including many women and children. A further 30,000, mostly young protesters, have been arrested. Many of them have been tortured and forced to sign false confessions that have led directly to a death sentence. Four young men have already been executed for taking part in the street protests. Not content with murdering dissidents at home, the mullahs seem determined to eliminate human rights protests abroad.

Meanwhile, the mullahs have deployed their usual diversionary tactics to deflect public attention from the ongoing insurrection that has seen tens of thousands chanting slogans such as “Death to Khamenei! Damned be Khamenei”, “Down with the oppressor, be it the Shah or the Supreme Leader (Khamenei)”. The theocratic regime has issued a wholly fabricated statement blaming the director general of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA), for publishing what they claim is an “unprofessional and unacceptable” report on the mullahs’ clandestine nuclear activities. Mohammad Eslami, who heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), told Iranian state TV that an inspector with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had been “mistaken” when he submitted “incorrect” information to the watchdog, following a visit to Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the IAEA said in his report that he was “concerned that Iran implemented a substantial change in the design information of FFEP (the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant) in relation to the production of highly enriched uranium without informing the Agency in advance.” His comments came after the IAEA said its inspectors found a modification to an interconnection between two clusters of centrifuges that was substantially different from what Iran had declared to the agency. Grossi said he was apprehensive over the theocratic regime’s growing stock of enriched uranium. He disclosed: “They have amassed enough nuclear material for several nuclear weapons — not one at this point.” Grossi claimed the mullahs have accumulated 70 kilograms of uranium enriched to 60% purity, only a fraction short of weapons’ grade, and 1,000 kilograms at 20% purity. 

Grossi’s most recent disclosure exposed the mullahs’ covert campaign to accelerate the production of a nuclear weapon, while simultaneously attempting to dupe the West into believing they were keen to resurrect the moribund Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, implemented by Obama in 2015 and unilaterally abandoned by Trump in 2018. The Biden administration and the EU have misguidedly tried to raise the zombie deal from the dead ever since, in a wretched act of appeasement, although now the combination of the regime’s brutal crackdown on protesters and the fact that they are actively supplying weaponized drones to Russia for Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine, has sounded the final death knell for the JCPOA.

Grossi now says that intends to visit Iran this month to resume talks with Iranian officials over their nuclear program. He told the European Parliament last week that the IAEA had reached a “big, big impasse” on the issue, claiming that the Iranian regime has disconnected 27 of his agency’s surveillance cameras at their nuclear sites, meaning that the IAEA can no longer effectively monitor what is going on. Grossi is right to be concerned. Binyamin Netanyahu’s new hard-right coalition government in Israel is made up of a solid wall of Iran hawks, determined to stop the mullahs ever attaining a nuclear weapon. Israel’s national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi recently pledged that Netanyahu will “destroy the nuclear facilities in Iran.” His assurance came on top of a statement last week from Israel’s outgoing army chief Aviv Kochavi, who claimed the state has prepared three separate operational attack plans aimed at neutralizing Iran’s nuclear program.

The explosive nature of the situation once again shines a spotlight on the futility of Western efforts to appease the mullahs. Of course, the ever-opportunistic monarchists, who fled following the 1979 revolution and have done nothing since, sense the downfall of the mullahs and yearn to return to the tyrannical power and palaces that they lost. Although he has no backing inside Iran, it has not dissuaded Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late Shah and self-proclaimed crown prince, from seeking the restoration of the monarchy. The mullahs have seized on this as a way to create confusion within the ranks of the demonstrators and create difficulties for the legitimate and main opposition movement the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and their burgeoning Resistance Units, who have guided and coordinated the uprising from the outset. Attempts by the theocratic regime to infiltrate street protests with agents who claim to support the restoration of the Shah, have rapidly backfired and been exposed as publicity stunts aimed at distorting the demands of the demonstrators. That is why protesters can routinely be heard yelling “No to the Shah! No to the mullahs”. 

Threats, lies, warmongering, deploying terror gangs abroad and crushing dissent at home, are the hallmarks of this oppressive regime. The courageous protesters, led from the start by women, who risk their lives daily by demanding the overthrow of the mullahs, deserve the unequivocal backing of the West. The time for weakness and appeasement is over. The EU and UK must now follow America’s lead by blacklisting the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), who are the regime’s Gestapo. We should recall our ambassadors from Tehran and expel their diplomatic staff and agents from our territories. Only the overthrow of this tyrannical regime will avert a nuclear disaster and restore peace, justice and democracy to the Iranian people and the wider Middle East.