Is Iran threatening further terror attacks in Europe?
Senior Iranian officials made it clear that Iran will no longer abide by the terms of the rapidly imploding Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as the Iran nuclear deal, reached in 2015.
Iran’s desperation and its arguably rash decision to provoke its partners follow heavy pressure from the United States, which walked away from the deal, reimposed economic sanctions and ended sanctions waivers for countries doing business with critical Iranian sectors.
Perhaps more chillingly, Iran directly threatened unspecified measures if European powers and Russia do not curb the effects of American sanctions.
To pressure European countries and the Russians, still parties to the deal, to accede to its demands, Tehran said it would no longer sell nuclear materials and heavy water in excess of the deal’s restrictions to Russia and Oman respectively, increasing the opportunity for Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
Iranian President Hassan Rohani took to Twitter to inform the remaining signatories to the deal that they “will face Iran’s further actions” if the radical Shia theocracy’s demands were not met within 60 days. To many, this sounded like Iran was threatening to allow its proxies commanded and controlled by its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to visit terror on Europe.
While supporters of the nuclear deal and those who ignore Iranian expansionism will balk at the suggestion that Iran would do anything of the sort, we only need to look at recent history in Europe to see that Iran has committed acts of terror by proxy on numerous occasions, as well as perpetrated assassinations against political dissidents.
In the summer of 2012, two members of Hezbollah set off a bomb at the Burgas Airport in Bulgaria. The attack on a tour bus killed six people and wounded 32 others. An investigation by Bulgarian authorities concluded the bombers were members of Hezbollah, had lived in Lebanon from at least 2006-10 and received financing from networks connected to Hezbollah.
Eleven days after the attack in Bulgaria, Cypriot police arrested Hossam Yaacoub, a Lebanese-born Swedish citizen, who admitted to being a member of Hezbollah.
Yaacoub said he had been tasked with scouting targets and surveilling activities of Israeli tourists in Cyprus. When he was captured, Yaacoub was recording tour bus registration plates, likely to facilitate a tour bus attack.
In 2015 and 2017, the Dutch government accused Iran of working with organised criminals to assassinate two of its Iranian-born citizens who were critical of the mullah’s regime in Tehran. Both men were from the persecuted Iranian Ahwazi Arab minority and were killed in similar circumstances. This was replicated by Iranian intelligence operative’s attempts to kill a dissident in Denmark in 2018.
Iran’s Intelligence Ministry was slapped with sanctions by the European Union after an Iranian diplomat and two others were arrested after they allegedly plotted to bomb a meeting of an exiled Iranian opposition group in France. Among those supposed to attend the meeting were former New York Mayor and US President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
With such brazen acts of terror, whether directly or indirectly via proxies, Iran seems to once again be threatening attacks across Europe. It is not as though the attacks stopped with the signing of the nuclear deal but Rohani appears to be threatening an increasing intensity of such attacks to destabilise Europe and to strike at opponents to its deadly regime who are seeking asylum where they believed they and their families were safe from the mullahs.
As such, it is time for Europe to stop sitting on the fence and join the United States in scrapping the nuclear deal once and for all.