EU should impose more pressure on the Iranian regime
As long as the Iranian regime continues its brutal crackdown on protesters and supports Russia militarily, it is in the interests of the EU to increase its pressure on the leaders in Tehran.
Unfortunately, the EU’s appeasement policy toward the Iranian regime appears to be persisting. One important facet includes doing business and trading with the theocratic establishment. The Tehran Times recently boasted about the country’s trade with the EU in a report stating that exports to the EU had gone up 28 percent in the first nine months of 2022 when compared to a year earlier.
It reported: “The Eurostat’s data show that Iran exported commodities worth €799 million ($846 million) to the union in the nine-month period of this year, while the figure was €623 million in the same time span of the previous year … the total value of trade between Iran and the EU reached €3.947 billion in January-September 2022, while the figure was €3.025 billion in the same period of 2021. Iran exported €72 million worth of goods to the EU in September, while importing €472 million from the mentioned union. The value of Iran’s exports to the EU stood at €68 million last September and the imports from the union were reported to be €308.”
The EU ought to recognize the fact that its increasing trade with Iran is undoubtedly boosting the regime’s revenues. This will most likely, in return, help the Iranian leaders to provide more weapons to Russia. The Iranian regime has been supplying kamikaze drones to Russia. That is why the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry in September stripped Iran’s ambassador in Kyiv of his accreditation and reduced the embassy’s diplomatic staff.
In fact, it is surprising that the EU’s policy toward Iran has not fundamentally changed, even since Brussels in October acknowledged that the Iranian regime was providing military support for Russia’s campaign against Ukraine through the “development and delivery of unmanned aerial vehicles to Russia.”
The more the EU ignores Iran’s aggressive actions, the more emboldened the Iranian leaders become. That is most likely why the empowered regime began sending troops to Crimea to assist Russia in its attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure and civilian population by increasing the effectiveness of its suicide drones.
The more the EU ignores Iran’s aggressive actions, the more emboldened the Iranian leaders become.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
The US ought to persuade the EU to stop its trade with the Iranian regime, since the White House has acknowledged that it has evidence that Iranian troops have been “directly engaged on the ground” in Crimea supporting Russian drone attacks. “The systems themselves were suffering failures and not performing to the standards that apparently the customers expected,” said National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby. “So, the Iranians decided to move in some trainers and some technical support to help the Russians use them with better lethality.”
It poses a great danger to the EU that the Iranian authorities also recently agreed to send ballistic missiles and even more drones to Russia. It is worth noting that the Iranian regime has the largest and most diverse ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East. “In eight months of full-scale war,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in October, “Russia has used almost 4,500 missiles against us. And their stock of missiles is dwindling. Therefore, Russia went looking for affordable weapons in other countries to continue its terror. It found them in Iran.”
In addition to halting its trade with the Iranian regime, the EU ought to recall its representatives from Tehran. European countries can also follow Ukraine’s policy of stripping the Iranian ambassador of his accreditation and reducing Iran’s diplomatic presence.
Finally, the EU would be well advised to heed what Winston Churchill famously said about appeasing an aggressor. The former UK prime minister warned: “Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last. All of them hope that the storm will pass before their turn comes to be devoured. But I fear — I fear greatly — the storm will not pass. It will rage and it will roar, ever more loudly, ever more widely.”
In a nutshell, the Iranian regime, the world’s top state sponsor of terrorism, poses a great danger to the security of the EU. So, Brussels needs to immediately step up its economic, political and diplomatic pressure on Iran.
- Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist. Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh