Two events have coalesced Europe''s determination to confront Iran''s drive to obtain nuclear arms. First, the November IAEA report confirming Western suspicions that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. Second, the storming of Britain''s Embassy on Tuesday by the Basij militia group, prompting the United Kingdom to recall its embassy personnel from Tehran and eject Iran''s Ambassador to England.
Many Western media reports identified the Iranian protestors as “students” who assaulted the UK embassy, but long-time observers of Iran''s regime see a highly coordinated attack. Meir Javedanfar, an Israeli expert in the field of Iran, told the Guardian: "The Basij falls under the command of the IRGC who answer to Khamenei. Basij members don''t turn up in front of embassies, unless they have permission from the IRGC as well as operational procedures, which would certainly include whether to launch a physical attack or not."France, Germany, and the Netherlands temporarily pulled their Ambassadors from Tehran in a dramatic sign of solidarity with the UK. The fundamental shift in European thinking is laying a possible blueprint for sanctions that could paralyze Iran''s financial streams for its nuclear and terror operations. In short, the EU can clamp down on the export of Iranian crude oil to its member countries. The EU slapped Iran with new sanctions on Thursday but did not impose oil sanctions. The month of January will be a litmus test of EU resolve against Iran''s jingoism and the blood-soaked repression of its pro-democracy movement.
The pressing question is, will the EU at its January foreign minister meeting, following its Syrian policy, embrace a call to dissolve Iran''s regime in favor of democracy?