Iran’s brazen tactics in Europe are coming back to haunt it. In recent months, Tehran has been suspected of attempting to carry out terrorist plots in France and Denmark.
On November 12, European Union foreign ministers predictably showed signs of a more assertive shift of policy towards Iran.
After being briefed by France and Denmark about recent Iranian terror plots on their soil, EU ministers voiced support for “targeted sanctions” against Tehran.
As Mahmud el-Shafey reports (Page 16), 150 MEPs from six major political groups in the European Parliament, and representing 27 countries, signed a joint statement protesting the “new wave of terrorism” instigated by Iran.
The EU had been divided over the attitude to be taken against Iran. Last March, it refused to endorse a proposal by Britain, France and Germany for sanctions on Tehran over its development of ballistic missiles and its role in Syria.
Iran’s terrorist plots were hatched at a time the Europeans were trying to establish a barter arrangement for the purchase of Iranian oil and gas in exchange for EU goods. This system is meant to circumvent US sanctions against Tehran.
But Tehran’s bellicose behaviour has continued. In the face of the recent wave of US sanctions targeting its oil and banking sectors, Tehran somehow seems to see in unprovoked threats a way out of its domestic and international quandaries.
Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ so-called airspace division, threatened to hit US bases and US aircraft in the region. He said: “They are within our reach and we can hit them if they (Americans) make a move.”
In an ironic twist, Hajizadeh was threatening to hit, among others, the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which hosts thousands of US troops. That threat against both the United States and Qatar comes at a time Doha has been cosying up to Tehran and even hinting it might co-host the 2022 World Cup with Iran.
Iran has already threatened to disrupt navigation in the Strait of Hormuz if it is not allowed to export its oil. It also continues undeterred in its destabilising support to regional proxies such as Yemen’s Houthis and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
The ambivalence of certain countries, especially in Europe, can only encourage Iran to pursue its terrorist activities and threaten world peace.