Once upon a time, nuclear weapons were the main threat to global peace and security. In fear of starting another world war, the international community adopted many resolutions and instructions, deterring nuclear weapons production and proliferation.
Today, many states—other than a handful of authoritarian regimes such as North Korea and Iran—have been convinced that nuclear weapons are not the path to progress. Furthermore, the Soviet Union’s collapse despite its massive nuclear arsenal showed that military power would not necessarily bring public trust.
Nowadays, global peace and stability are threatened by authoritarians who cling to any means to achieve their goals. Their goal is to remain in power indefinitely and curb any opposition.
Iran’s ayatollahs are considered a good instance in this context. In the past few years alone, they suppressed any movement and cry to “stabilize” their rule. They responded to the people’s economic grievances with excessive violence.
Since late 2017, Iran witness several nationwide protests and strikes, which immediately engulfed many cities across the country. Authorities quickly grasped that this continuation and speedy expansion will go to destroy their harrowing suppression very soon. On the other hand, these elements showed an organized movement is behind the protests.
In this regard, they intended to quell any protest and objection with harsh means. Moreover, they pursued to terrify society from further upheavals and revolts. In this respect, in January 2018, interrogators tortured protesters to death. Statistics indicate that the ayatollahs murdered 50 protesters, 25 of whom died under torture.
In November 2019, state security forces (SSF) and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) killed at least 1,500 peaceful protesters who raised their voice against gasoline price hikes. They targeted defenseless demonstrators with heavy machineguns, snipers, armored vehicles, and even helicopters.
Furthermore, oppressive forces detained over 12,000 protesters and exposed them to torture and other ill-treatment to confess to what they had not committed. Afterward, judicial authorities sentenced many protesters to long-term prison and even the death penalty based on torture-tainted confessions.
However, this was not the entire story. The ayatollahs resorted to terrorism to remove the opposition, nipping any protest in the bud. In this respect, they launched several terror plots against dissidents on European soil.
The Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI), as the most crucial opposition group, was the main target for Tehran. Iranian authorities activated their sleeper cells to attack the MEK members and supporters. These cells, however, were under the direction of Iran’s embassies and senior diplomats.
In March 2018, Iranian ambassador to Albania Gholamhossein Mohammad Nia and his deputy Mostafa Rudaki were personally involved in a terror plot against the MEK celebration marking the new Persian year, Nowruz. Albanian authorities detained and expelled the hired terrorists.
Later, in December 2018, Albania expelled Mohammad Nia and Rudaki for disturbing the country’s national security. Authorities also expelled several other terrorists who disguised themselves as diplomats from Albania.
Assadollah Assadi, the third secretary of the Iranian embassy in Austria, was one of these masterminds. He was the chief of Tehran’s intelligence station in Europe. He has recruited three persons to bomb the annual gathering of the Iranian coalition opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in June 2018.
According to European authorities, Assadi used diplomatic coverage to transfer and deliver explosive material and a detonation device to operators in Luxemburg. In a joint operation, law enforcement detained Assadi nearly to Germany-Austria borders.
Assadi was later extradited to Belgium to be tried along with his squad. Recently, the Iranian jailed diplomat threatened Belgian police about the unknown groups’ reactions if the Belgian court identifies him as guilty. “Armed groups in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, and Iran, were interested in the outcome of his case and would be ‘watching from the sidelines to see if Belgium would support them or not,’” according to the minutes of interrogation.
These facts flagrantly reveal the necessity of adopting a firm approach against the Iranian government’s terrorism. They show that Western states can no longer turn a blind eye to the destructive role of the IRGC and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).
For many years, the NCRI and MEK have called on democratic states to shut down Tehran’s embassies and condition their relations to stop executions and terror activities. European leaders’ negligence and their eagerness for economic privileges put their citizens’ lives at risk while today, an Iranian diplomat dares to threaten the police in jail.
These provocative remarks prompted UK lawmakers from the House of Commons and House of Lords, as well as Irish politicians, to urge European leaders to list the IRGC and MOIS as terror entities. In an online conference hosted by the NCRI-UK Representative Office, they also highlighted the imperative of support for the Iranian people and their organized resistance movement against Iran’s cruel rule.
“Iranian regime foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was responsible for a bombing attempt against the Free Iran rally of the NCRI. The conspirators, including Assadollah Assadi, a regime diplomat, is now on trial in Belgium. It is the first time that a regime diplomat is directly involved in a terrorist attempt,” said former Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson.
“These are not the only terror plots that bear the fingerprint of Zarif. Another regime terrorist was caught in Denmark; two others were expelled from the Netherlands. They have operated in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Austria, and Turkey,” he added.
“We should close all of Iran’s embassies and expel all their diplomats. Regime leaders should be indicted for crimes against humanity and brought to trial by criminal courts. The EU and UN must stop its appeasement of the mullahs’ regime,” Stevenson concluded.
Additionally, the NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi called on UK lawmakers and Irish politicians to pressure their governments to designate the IRGC and MOIS as terrorist groups, shut down Tehran’s embassies, and expel their agents from European soil.
At the event, many lawmakers expressed their concerns over the Iranian government’s terror activities in Europe and demanded the UK government to respond forcefully.
“There is a clear case to designate the IRGC as a terrorist entity and the UK must do so,” said Theresa Villiers MP.
Toby Perkins MP also described the “designation of IRGC and MOIS as terrorist entities” as a necessary step. “The UK must abandon the policy of appeasement and back the opposition,” Perkins added.
“We must proscribe the IRGC in its entirety as a terrorist organization. The regime’s terrorism has reached Europe and the time to act is now. I urge our government to proscribe the IRGC, implement a pressure policy, and encourage our European allies to do so as well,” Bob Blackman MP joined his colleagues as saying.
Sir Alan Meale announced his regret over Europe turning “a blind eye to the regime’s terrorism and acquiesced to the regime.”
“Relations with Iran must be contingent to the end of executions and the release of political prisoners. Iranian diplomats who facilitate terrorism must be expelled,” Former Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre told the event.
“[Iranian authorities] will interpret any appeasement from Western governments as a sign of weakness. The only approach is to exclude the regime from the world community,” said Steve McCabe MP.
“It’s high time for the regime to be held to account for its terrorism. Under no circumstances must European authorities accept the regime to intervene in the procedures of the court,” Lord Alton of Liverpool added.