At last week’s 6th July meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC), chaired by the UK, the growing threat posed by Iran and the absurdity of western appeasement policy to resurrect the defunct Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, took centre stage. The Security Council was told that under the terms of the UNSC Resolution 2231, aimed at curtailing the regime’s nuclear ambitions, Iran has been in violation of its commitments for more than four years and its nuclear programme has now escalated to alarming levels. 

The JCPOA was signed by President Obama in 2015 and abandoned by President Trump in 2018 when he unilaterally withdrew the US from the scheme, declaring it the worst deal in American history. Whatever you may think about President Trump, he was absolutely right on this issue. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), stockpiles of Iran’s enriched uranium now stand at 21 times the amounts permitted under the UN Resolution. The IAEA reported it had detected uranium particles enriched to 83.7% at Fordow, an underground uranium enrichment facility 20 miles northeast of the Holy City of Qom. Enriching to such levels, which can only be for weapons use, is a very grave development and poses a direct threat to the Middle East and the wider world. 

It is well documented that the mullahs’ regime has used the JCPOA, even when it was operational, as a cover for accelerating its clandestine nuclear programme, hiding its activities from IAEA inspectors. The regime has also developed ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads. Indeed, in May this year, Iran’s defence ministry announced it had tested a missile capable of delivering a 1500kg warhead at a range of 2000 km. It has transferred missiles and military hardware to dictators like Bashar al-Assad in Syria and to terrorist groups like the Houthi rebels in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, in defiance of UNSC Resolution 2231. It has taken almost complete control of the brutal Shi’ia militias in neighbouring Iraq. It is manufacturing and supplying kamikaze drones to Russia for use in attacks in Ukraine, in full support of Putin’s illegal war and in complete defiance of western sanctions.

In a joint statement at last week’s UN Security Council, the co-signatories from the UK, France and Germany stated:

“Neither Russia nor Iran have ever sought authorisation for these transfers, which are therefore a breach of UNSC Resolution 2231 by both states. We condemn Iran’s continued disregard for its obligations under this Resolution, urge it to immediately cease this activity, and strongly caution Iran against any further deliveries or escalation of such violations. In light of such repeated violations, we encourage the Secretary General to instruct the UN Secretariat to examine and report on the ample evidence of Iran transferring weapons, materials, equipment, goods and technology or related services controlled by UNSCR 2231 as it has done so on several occasions in the past. We would welcome a visit by UN experts to Ukraine as requested by the Government of Ukraine and supported by us and other council members. We remain determined that Iran must never develop a nuclear weapon and must reverse its nuclear escalation. We are deeply concerned that against such dangerous dynamics, key restrictions of UNSC Resolution 2231, particularly on Iran’s ballistic activities and missiles transfers will expire in October. We recall that the restrictions of other relevant UNSC Resolutions will remain fully in place after that date. We emphasise once again our determination to find a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis, as demonstrated by our consistent efforts in that regard. We urge Iran to immediately de-escalate its ongoing activities.”

The UK’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said last week: “The Iranian regime is oppressing its own people, exporting bloodshed in Ukraine and the Middle East, and threatening to kill and kidnap on UK soil. Today the UK has sent a clear message to the regime – we will not tolerate this malign behaviour and we will hold you to account. Our new sanctions regime will help to ensure there can be no hiding place for those who seek to do us harm.”

Nevertheless, the absurd game of appeasement continues today, as the Iranian regime faces its imminent downfall after months of nationwide protests, during which time more than 750 mostly young male and female protesters have been killed and more than 30,000 arrested. With their economy in freefall, spiralling inflation and a collapsing currency, the mullahs are demanding the lifting of sanctions by the west, in exchange for renewed talks on restoring the zombie nuclear deal. Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, seems determined to comply, desperate to secure some sort of foreign policy legacy for President Biden as he nears the end of his first term in office. The US, as ever, has the slavish backing of the EU in attempting to appease the tyrannical mullahs.

The UK should take a leading role in warning the US and EU to back away from attempts to resurrect the failed nuclear deal. Lifting sanctions would not put bread back on the table for Iran’s 85 million starving citizens. It would, however, kick start the refunding of terrorist groups throughout the Middle East. It would also re-boot the regime’s financing of international terror abroad and cruel oppression at home. Dialogue and negotiation with this pariah regime will never work. Immediate and draconian sanctions must be placed on Iran, including the blacklisting of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the regime’s Gestapo. EU and UK arguments that the IRGC is an institution of the State and therefore cannot be blacklisted are nonsense. President Trump listed the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization and froze their assets. The UK and EU should follow suit. If the west doesn’t abandon its disastrous appeasement policy, Israel may be forced to take unilateral action. The Israelis will not stand aside and watch Iran develop an arsenal of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles. They have taken matters into their own hands before and they will do so again.

The time has come to show our backing for the Iranian people in their determination to overthrow this oppressive, fascist tyranny. Regime change and the restoration of democracy, freedom, justice, women’s rights, human rights, an end to the death penalty, and an end to the nuclear threat, can only be achieved if the west backs the people or Iran, rather than attempting to negotiate with the theocratic regime.