On 13th July, in a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, a French member - Nathalie Loiseau MEP, launched a vicious tirade against the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the People’s Mojahedin of Iran/ Mojahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK), the main democratic opposition to the mullahs’ fascist theocratic regime. Her onslaught contained all of the usual propaganda that is regularly trotted out by the mullahs. It was the latest prime example of EU appeasement policy towards the Iranian regime. It seems clear that Loiseau, who is a member of Macron’s party and a former cabinet minister, was instructed to do this by the Élysée Palace, where President Macron is nursing his anger over his defeat in the French courts at the beginning of the month, when his attempt to ban a mass opposition rally by the NCRI was thwarted.

Macron will be desperate to point to some success in his appeasement policy, to try to pacify the Iranian president - Ebrahim Raisi and the mullahs. Raisi is known in Iran as ‘The Butcher of Tehran’ for his key role as an executioner during the notorious massacre of over 30,000 PMOI/MEK members and supporters in 1988. Despite his murderous reputation, Macron spent more than 90 minutes on a phone call to Raisi towards the end of June. It is certain they weren’t discussing football!  Raisi was clearly demanding a crackdown on the NCRI opposition and a ban on their mass rally in Paris, in return for his agreement to restore the derelict nuclear deal and to release 4 French hostages being held in Iranian prisons on trumped-up charges. 

There is no doubt that having suffered the ignominy of the mass rally and summit meeting of leading international dignitaries in Paris and the huge international support for the PMOI/MEK from parliamentarians and former world leaders, the mullahs’ regime is now mounting a major counteroffensive. It is fighting for its survival, which is why Macron was pressured and no doubt even threatened by Raisi to crack down on the Iranian opposition. Macron was following a pattern of appeasement that has been a core theme of EU policy for decades. There has been a succession of EU High Representatives for Foreign Affairs and Security – the de-facto EU foreign ministers – who have kowtowed to the mullahs. Amongst the worst appeasers have been Federica Mogherini, the former Italian communist and so-called expert on Islam, and the current High Representative, the socialist former Spanish foreign minister Josep Borrell. Mogherini was even photographed, fully veiled and posing for selfies with members of the mullahs’ parliament in Tehran. Borrell’s first port of call, within days of being appointed as the EU’s High Representative, was to Tehran, for talks with the turbaned tyrants.

Having failed to annihilate the MEK during the horrific 1988 massacre, the mullahs were infuriated, and a campaign of demonization and terror began. For this purpose, they focused their attention on elements of the Western media, manipulating key journalists to launch a smear campaign against the MEK, trotting out the Iranian regime’s greatest hits about the main opposition movement like calling them an ‘Islamic-Marxist cult’ and claiming that they are a terrorist organization. The fact that the MEK now boasts a huge entourage of prominent international political supporters from left to right of the political spectrum, gives the lie to all these ludicrous assertions and weary propaganda fed into the system by Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), a sinister KGB-style organization that actually is itself on the US and EU terrorist lists. 

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, which was only ever used as a convenient cover for the regime’s accelerating clandestine nuclear programme. 

The medieval mullahs see the PMOI/MEK as the greatest threat to the continuation of their venally corrupt and vicious regime with good reason. Over the past 40 years, the PMOI/MEK has been the first and only serious opposition movement calling for the entire theocracy's overthrow and advocating for regime change at the hands of the Iranian people themselves. They oppose all forms of dictatorship, be it the mullahs’ theocratic regime or the dictatorship of the former Shah. Now, in panic at the ongoing insurrection, the mullahs have also mounted a sophisticated, unrelenting, and well-funded vilification campaign against the MEK, as a matter of state policy. 

Happily, this appeasement policy is not being followed by the UK, where Foreign Secretary James Cleverly last week announced heavy new sanctions against the regime. In a statement issued on 6 July he said: "The Iranian regime is oppressing its own people, exporting bloodshed in Ukraine and in 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 that there can be no hiding place for those that seek to do us harm." The list of individuals and entities sanctioned by the UK government includes prison governors overseeing torture and inhumane treatment, particularly those responsible for human rights abuses and organisations charged with collecting private information of regime opponents and individuals leading the repression of women through Iran’s compulsory hijab laws. But the UK government could go further. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) – the regime’s Gestapo, should be blacklisted as a terrorist organisation. There has been reluctance in the EU and the UK to do this because the IRGC is seen as a government institution, and it would be regarded as an unprecedented move to ban such an organisation. However, the IRGC was successfully listed as a foreign terrorist organisation by the Americans, under President Trump.

The UK should also take a leading role in warning the EU and US 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 Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the brutal Shi’ia militias in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. It would also re-boot the regime’s financing of international terror abroad and cruel oppression at home. The West must end its policy of appeasement and support the downfall of this pariah regime by the Iranian people.