Tuesday 2nd March 2021
IRAN’S ACCELERATING NUCLEAR PROGRAMME
The EU is desperately trying to encourage President Biden to lift sanctions on Iran and re-join the deeply flawed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal. As leading appeasers of the criminal regime in Tehran, the EU seems oblivious to all of its crimes and misdemeanours, no matter how serious. Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs & Security has not uttered a single word of criticism about the Iranian diplomat jailed for trying to kills hundreds with a bomb on European soil. On the contrary, Mr Borrell organised a special 3-day EU-Iran business forum that is taking place right now, as we speak.
Sadly, for the EU it looks as if appeasing the mullahs is the order of the day. Issuing naked threats of an immediate return to an accelerated programme of uranium enrichment, which is already in direct breach of the original nuclear deal, Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, says that his country will only return to the JCPOA deal, if the US “unconditionally and effectively lifts all sanctions imposed, re-imposed or re-labelled by Trump.” Rather than issuing threats to the West, Javad Zarif and the other leaders of the theocratic regime should be indicted for their clear involvement in deploying their diplomat, Asadollah Assadi, on a terrorist mission.
I sincerely hope that the Biden administration will not follow Josep Borrell’s example of barefaced appeasement. To do so would not only be a grave error, it would also be a humiliating defeat for America and a propaganda coup for the theocratic regime in Iran. In January, the UN nuclear inspectors announced that the mullahs had begun to accelerate uranium enrichment and were aiming to “produce low-enriched uranium up to 20% purity”, one step away from nuclear weapons grade. The regime has repeatedly boasted about its violation of the JCPOA. Despite clear evidence that the mullahs are continuing secretly to construct a nuclear device and ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, the EU remain ludicrously committed to reinstating the nuclear deal. Moves to lift sanctions come against a background of new information released by the IAEA indicating they have discovered uranium particles at two sites from which they had previously been barred.
The nuclear inspectors had managed to carry out snap checks on both sites and are now demanding an explanation from Tehran for the presence of uranium. The mullahs have long insisted that their uranium enrichment programme was only ever intended for peaceful, energy production purposes. However, the Iranian intelligence minister revealed their true intentions, telling the press recently that Western pressure could push Tehran to fight back like a “cornered cat” and seek nuclear weapons.
The international community should not buckle in the face of the mullahs’ blackmail strategy and their tactic of extortion and hostage-taking which dates back to the 1980s, when the regime stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took numerous hostages. The mullahs have continued to use hostage taking and terrorism to intimidate the West and achieve their goals. Iranian citizens with dual-nationality are routinely arrested on trumped up charges of spying or trying to overthrow the regime. The US, EU and UN must hold the Iranian regime to account for its acts of aggression. Any concessions to the theocratic dictatorship will be seen as an act of weakness by the West and will be mercilessly exploited by the mullahs. There must be no lifting of sanctions until all clandestine nuclear activity, involvement in foreign wars and domestic oppression has ended.
The failure to link any restitution of the JCPOA to ending the clerical regime’s destabilizing activities in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq and insisting on an end to repression, torture and executions in Iran, has simply encouraged the mullahs to further aggressive behaviour at home and abroad. There can be no return to ‘business as usual’ with a regime that has abandoned all the norms of civilized behaviour. President Biden must resist the mullahs’ campaign of bullying, extortion and blackmail and show Tehran that he is prepared to be tough. Despite having the second largest gas and fourth largest oil reserves in the world, Iran is now a crumbling ruin, the legacy of 42 years of corrupt and oppressive Islamic fundamentalism. President Biden and his Secretary of State Tony Blinken, should think twice about re-opening diplomatic relations with this pariah regime, or lifting sanctions in a bid to revive the moribund nuclear deal. The US, EU and UN must begin a new policy of backing the oppressed Iranian people and not their tyrannical rulers.