By Mahmoud Hakamian
While some Western governments have tried appeasement policies with Iran and continue to financially support the regime in hopes of normalizing the country’s behavior, Tehran have given no indication that it plans to abandon its autocratic and militaristic tendencies.
Even as the Islamic Republic faces economic chaos, and the EU attempts to develop a Special Purpose Vehicle to enable trade with Iran, its government has still failed to act on nine out of ten of the guidelines specified by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The intergovernmental group that combats money laundering and counter terrorist financing postponed imposing sanctions on Iran, and has now given Tehran until June to comply with anti-terror financial measures.
Iran’s theocratic regime has a history of playing fast and loose with the truth. Khomeini told the Iranian people in 1979 that there would be freedom of expression, but instead the regime uses violence, detention, and repression to suppress dissent and control the people. In fact, Amnesty International, reports that Iranian authorities arrested more than 7,000 dissidents just in the last year. Hundreds were jailed, at least 26 protestors killed, and nine people died under suspicious circumstances while in custody. Journalists, women who protest against the hijab, and the leaders of the opposition political parties are among those currently detained. As well, UK and US dual-nationals are being held on dubious charges and denied the right to see their families.
In its attempt to bring attention to the “rampant violations of the security apparatus and the judiciary,” Human Rights Watch has also highlighted the abuse of people with disabilities and monitors discrimination against women in the workforce.
The Iranian regime has been called one of the world’s largest sponsors of terrorism. It supports extremist groups operating in the Middle East and in the West. Lebanon’s Hezbollah, a group allegedly responsible for terror attacks around the globe, is supported by generous and ongoing financing from the Iranian regime. Iran is also said to provide weapons and training for their activities.
Several reports have warned that this regime is a growing danger, including the “Munich Security Report 2019”. This report, from the Munich Security Conference, reveals that the Iranian military is growing in strength. Tehran’s neighbors are concerned with its aspirations for regional hegemony. These warnings should be heeded by European leaders.
However, European leaders seem to be laboring under the false hope that Iran will moderate its behavior in return for economic aid. But appeasement has only made the regime bolder. Europe cannot continue to help a country that represents a growing threat to its own citizens and to the security of the region.