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Why Europe's efforts to change the Iranian regime's behavior constantly fail

Europe’s “special purpose vehicle”
Europe’s “special purpose vehicle”

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

 

Jan. 18, 2019 - After the current U.S. administration pulled out of the flawed Iran nuclear deal, the European Union promised to the ruling theocracy in Iran to create a Special Purpose Vehicle to circumvent U.S. sanctions and allow the Iranian regime to continue selling its oil without repercussions.

But while the end-2018 deadline for setting up the clearinghouse-like mechanism, has already passed, no European initiative has appeared on the horizon.

Meanwhile, some European officials did their best to express their commitment to the Iran deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

In her personal blog, EU’s high representative for foreign relations and security policy Federica Mogherini published an article titled “Twelve things to bring with us in 2019” and described her efforts to rescue the deal by creating “a mechanism to let our [European] firms continue their legitimate business with Iran.”

While the staunch support of a well-known supporter of empowering women for a country with one of the—if not the—most appalling record for women rights is not much of a surprise to analysts of world politics, the lack of concrete results has surprised Iranian officials and disrupted their ecstatic fantasies.

After all, none of the medieval states of centuries past could have dreamed of wreaking havoc around the globe and in their region—let’s call it crusades or exporting the revolution as Islamic Republic’s parlance likes to name it—crack down on any type of local dissent, strive for building weapons of mass destruction, let alone nuclear warheads, and the means to deliver them to the four corners of the world, and all the while enjoy the support and compliments of alien nations out of the future, whose governing systems are founded on strange pillars called “human rights”, “individual freedoms”, “freedom of speech”, and other ridiculous notions.

In a sense, it’s not even the Iranian mullahs’ fault. Imagine a naughty boy whose psyche still hasn’t developed enough to fully grasp sophisticated notions like “forgiveness”—please note the difference between forgiveness and submission; one out of strength and character while the other out of weakness, regardless of whether it’s right or wrong. If the boy’s parents were to spoil the kid by just showing him, what at first glance appears to be, love and support, they would’ve done the worst disservice to the boy’s development process. If he gets a chance to learn that at a later stage in his life, it will come at a much higher price, and maybe at the hands of people who don’t even care about the well-being of the boy.

But it could also end in a catastrophe.

In other words, much of the World War II calamities may have been prevented, if Neville Chamberlain had the guts to stand up to Hitler and his expansionist policies. But instead, he tried to appease a regime that didn’t understand the notion in the first place.

The European process with the Iranian regime is much the same. For the love of petrodollars and business with Iran, the classic European diplomat, who let’s say is responsible for both foreign relations and security policy, needs to come up with a foreign policy framework that manages to enable trade while addressing legitimate security concerns.

Our imaginary diplomat puts herself in the Iranian ruling elite’s shoes and by first equaling the Islamic Republic of Mullahs to Iran as a country and nation, she thinks how many reasons they must have to bear resent and grievances from the past.

Iran’s national leader, Mohammad Mosaddegh, was overthrown by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and United Kingdom’s MI6 in a 1953 coup. The following dictatorship of the Shah and his blatant disregard for the largely religious population set the stage for the rule of the current mullahs.

Before Mosaddegh, another great Iranian politician and maybe the first true reformer in modern Iran, Mirza Mohammad Taghi Khan Amir Kabir, was also killed under the influence of foreign powers who had lost much of their status during his tenure. The list goes on.

Now, since the diplomat thinks that she is dealing with individuals and a system that acts upon the same fundamental values and rules as herself, she argues that these national grievances must be appeased. She falsely thinks that the ruling theocracy in Tehran will appreciate the goodwill gesture for what it is and cooperate in return to address her nation’s concerns.

Sounds just and reasonable, but that’s not how the Iranian regime works. For starters, the Iranian ruling elite are not elected officials, despite the election circus every few years. And as hard as the Iranian lobby in the west tries to paint it otherwise, just like every other dictatorship in history, the ruling elite don’t have to adhere to the public opinion every few years and won’t lose their stature if the Iranian street has no more love for them. Case in point: The Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, himself.

As the wielder of the final say in all strategic and important matters of state, he is God’s official representative on earth whose position and decisions can’t be questioned by mere mortals.

In addition, the ruling theocracy of Iran isn’t a classic nation-state. It’s the Islamic Republic of the Mullahs. Despite their recently increased use of national rhetoric, their ideology, roots, and stated and applied goals adhere to the same extremist tenets their regime has been founded on. Therefore, the application of modern world-stage politics norms to them is an experiment in vain.

As history has proven, the Iranian regime only respects and fears power, period—especially if and when their rule faces a credible threat.

Let’s hope that the EU, after realizing that there isn’t much of economic benefits in dealing with Iran considering the U.S. sanctions, and in the wake of a recent series of Iranian terrorist activities on its soil, wakes up from their wishful daydream of appeasing a regime right out of the dark ages, and considers the long term benefits of a firm policy toward Iran.

 

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