The recent release of masses of documents hacked from the Iranian regime’s ministry of foreign affairs and from the president’s private office in Tehran, have revealed disturbing evidence of the mullahs’ unrelenting determination to develop nuclear weapons. Members of a hacktivist group known as Ghyam Sarnegouni (‘Rise to Overthrow’), affiliated with Resistance Units of the main democratic opposition movement the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), have released a treasure trove of top-secret documents including an exchange of letters late last year between Mohammad Eslami, who heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and President Ebrahim Raisi, known as ‘The Butcher of Tehran’. In a handwritten letter to Raisi dated 27th November 2022, Eslami asks how the €2 billion (£1.7 billion) budgeted for expanding the nuclear programme will be paid. Two days later, on 29th November 2022, an official typed letter from the president’s office, signed by his chief of staff, was sent to the head of the regime’s Plan and Budget Organization, instructing him to approve the spending of the €2 billion.

This ominous exchange of correspondence, which took place at the height of the recent nationwide uprising, has confirmed that the theocratic regime was prepared to ignore the dire economic meltdown their corrupt, militaristic, and criminal government has caused in Iran, in preference to developing a nuclear bomb. The regime now boasts that it has enriched 70 kilograms of uranium to 60% purity, only a fraction short of weapons’ grade, and 1,000 kilograms to 20% purity. It is accelerating its development of a nuclear weapon and ballistic missile delivery systems, with the often-stated intention of wiping Israel off the map. Only last week the theocratic regime sent shockwaves to Israel by unveiling its first domestically manufactured hypersonic missile, which it says can travel at up to 15 times the speed of sound and could hit targets in Tel Aviv within 400 seconds, bypassing Israel’s advanced ‘Iron Dome’ air defence system. A beaming Raisi presided at the official press launch of the Fattah or “Conqueror” missile, boasting that it would be “a point of security and stable peace” for the region. “This missile power means that the region will be safe from evildoers and foreign aggression,” he said.

Maintaining security and peace in the Middle East is not something for which the Iranian regime is renowned, with their limitless funding of Bashar al-Assad’s bloody civil war in Syria, their military support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the terrorist Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and the brutal Shi’ia militias in Iraq. Now they have thrown their weight behind their close friend and ally Vladimir Putin, supplying him with Kamikaze drones for use in his illegal war in Ukraine. With inflation running currently around 48% in Iran, the 85 million population has been reduced to abject poverty. The middle class has been effectively eliminated. Crippling Western sanctions, and decades of economic mismanagement, have plunged the Islamic Republic into a severe crisis. Iran’s currency, the rial, has dropped to a record low, wiping out people’s life savings and making even some basic goods unaffordable. The masses of mostly young protesters who have taken to the streets in towns and cities throughout Iran are demanding the overthrow of the mullahs’ clerical regime. They’re protests have been met with ferocious force by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the regime’s Gestapo, with 750 killed and more than 30,000 arrested so far. In a killing frenzy to deter the dissidents, the mullahs have begun an accelerated marathon of executions, hanging 144 people in May alone, including 3 young people who were arrested during the street protests. Dozens more have been moved to solitary cells to await execution.

The IRGC’s raison d'être is exclusively summed up in domestic suppression and interference in the affairs of other countries with the aim of expanding the Iranian regime's malign influence. Meddling in the internal affairs of other countries and particularly exporting terrorism and fundamentalism, has for years been a strategic pillar for Tehran’s survival. The IRGC’s warmongering expansionism in the Middle East led to their listing as a foreign terrorist organization by the Donald Trump in 2018. However, although senior figures attached to the IRGC have been sanctioned by the EU and UK, there has been ongoing resistance to blacklisting the entire outfit. The British government, the EU and its member states should sever existing ties with the Islamic Republic and follow the US example by blacklisting the IRGC as a terrorist organization. Western governments and the International Criminal Court should demand legal accountability from those Iranian officials and institutions that have violated human rights en masse, both before and during the current Iranian uprising.

However, instead of taking tough action against this repressive gangster regime, western appeasers are once again ludicrously trying to re-open negotiations over the long defunct Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal. Joe Biden, desperate to end his current term in office by trumpeting some sort of foreign policy initiative, after his disastrous intervention in Afghanistan, is apparently keen to reinvigorate the nuclear talks, in total disregard for the plight of the repressed Iranian people and the terrorist behaviour of the mullahs. He also seems ignorant of the fact that the mullahs used the JCPOA for years as a convenient smokescreen to conceal their clandestine efforts to develop a nuclear weapon. The mullahs are demanding the full lifting of sanctions before they will renew negotiations and it seems as if they have convinced the appeasers to capitulate. There are reports that South Korea and Iraq have already agreed to hand over $7 billion and $10 billion respectively, in a clear breach of US sanctions and in naked betrayal of the Iranian people who want regime change rather than regime bailout. The renewal of the JCPOA negotiations will also alarm the Israelis, who have always warned that it was simply camouflage for Iran’s aggressive nuclear program. The time for talking to this tyrannical regime has long since passed. The time for resolute action has arrived.