Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former vice-president of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2014 and current president of the Brussels-based International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ) writes in his article for Euractiv, that “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has said that “the founder and the number one state sponsor of terror is trying the switch the place of murderer and victim and portray as such the central banker of terrorism. The real victims of these vicious actions are the innocent people killed or wounded that deserve indeed our solidarity, and not the most cruel and oppressive regime of the planet.”
Vidal-Quadras says that her statement places this “in the context of a broader Iranian project of trying to overcome the country’s economic and political isolation without compromising on its violent and destabilising activities in the region and the world.”
The Iranian regime’s response to the Tehran attacks is linked to the lightly enforced 2015 nuclear agreement that enforced restrictions on country’s nuclear enrichment program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
The agreement encouraged a number of European policymakers and business leaders to begin expanded relations with the Islamic Republic, despite the failure to address such items as the moderation of Iranian human rights behavior and tensions between the Islamic Republic and the West.
Many of the advocates of trade deals and normalization may view the Tehran attacks with favor. Vidal-Quadras poses that this may be used as justification: “If Iran is a target for ISIS, they might argue, surely it can also be an asset in helping to defeat the Sunni terrorist group. If that’s the case, what harm could come of doing business with Iran and providing its government with an economic boost as its fight aids in the defeat of terrorists?”
The recent ISIS attacks change nothing about the Iranian regime’s history, ideology, or conduct. Since the 1979 popular revolution, that regime, and in particular its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), has been a force behind Islamic extremism. He says, “Sometimes it has even fuelled Sunni extremism by encouraging the alienation of Sunni populations overall, as it has done in the ISIS hotbeds of Syria and Iraq, where Shiite militants with the IRGC’s backing run roughshod over the country.”
But most important is that many of these militant groups have been accused of human rights violations.
The international community must remember that any expansion in economic, political, or security cooperation with Tehran will be a deal with a regime that represses the Iranian people, and executed dissidents and activists, including 30,000 political prisoners, mostly from the opposition group PMOI (MEK), in the summer of 1988.
Iran’s record will be explained on July 1st, when the NCRI holds its annual Iran Freedom rally in Paris to endorse regime change. Hundreds of European and American politicians will attend the event, as well as tens of thousands of expat Iranians. The US and its global partners will be urged to blacklist the IRGC as a terrorist organisation.
“The task thereafter will be to convince Western governments to set policy in accordance with the notion that Middle Eastern conflicts should not be competitions between two factions of extremists, but rather between extremism as a whole and the moderate Muslims who advocate for true democracy and freedom in their homelands,” Vidal-Quadras concludes.