Members of the revolutionary guard.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
BERLIN – Along with the Iran nuclear agreement, the European Union has agreed to remove sanctions on Iranian entities and individuals deeply involved in terrorism.
Making matters significantly worse from the Israeli and European Jewish perspective is Europe’s decision to allow the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, or the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps as it usually called in the West, broad latitude to operate within the EU starting in 2023.
“The EU delisting of IRGC military organizations and personnel is tantamount to a green light for Iran-sponsored terrorism. Likewise, the EU delisting of IRGC financial, engineering, construction, energy and transport sector entities amounts to European approval of the IRGC’s dominance in Iran’s economy, which equates to the continued repression of the Iranian people by a regime that just cashed in on temporarily deferring aspects of its nuclear program,” Ali Alfoneh, an expert on the Revolutionary Guard, and a fellow a the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote.
Europe’s media are not paying attention to some of the fine print in the nuclear agreement that largely affects their citizen’s security as well as that of Israel institutions across the continent.
Alfoneh noted, “After the nuclear agreement signed last week, the United States will maintain most of its sanctions on individuals and entities connected to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the regime’s elite forces for external terrorism and domestic repression. The European Union, however, has chosen a different path: a mass delisting of the Guards on the date the deal calls ‘Transition Day.’” Europe’s “Transition Day” is to take place eight years after the agreement has been formally implemented.
Alfoneh wrote, “barring unforeseen circumstances [implementation] will occur at some point over the next three months. On that day, the EU will delist the IRGC, as well as its Air Force and Missile Command. Most unexpectedly, it will lift nuclear sanctions on the Quds Force, the IRGC’s external arm tasked with ‘exporting the revolution’ and extending support to terrorist proxies.”
The EU is slated to delist Iranian banks such as Ansar and Mehr , which are under sanctions because of their nuclear proliferation and nuclear weapons delivery activities. The EU did not object to delisting the notorious Brig.-Gen. Mohammad Hejazi.
Hejazi is a former commander of the Basij militia, Alfoneh told The Jerusalem Post
“In his 10-year tenure as Basij chief he managed to reorganize the Iran-Iraq War-era volunteer force into a countrywide security force suppressing dissidence down to the neighborhood level. At the time he left, the Basij was organizationally capable of performing its role in suppression of the 2009 uprisings” against the fraudulent presidential election, Alfoneh said.
The signing of the Iran agreement coincides with this month’s three-year commemoration of a joint Iran-Hezbollah terrorist attack in Bulgaria that resulted in the deaths of five Israelis and their Bulgarian Muslim bus driver.
US and Israeli intelligence officials said, shortly after a bomb blew up an Israel tour bus, that the operation was carried out by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its chief proxy, Hezbollah
. A senior Israeli official explicitly attributed the bombing to the Iranian Quds Force.
Iranian terrorism has a long history on European soil. In 1989, Iranian agents executed Abdol-Rahman Ghassemlou, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, in Vienna.
According to a Berlin court decision, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, another of the Islamic Republic’s so-called “pragmatic” presidents, directed Iranian agents to assassinate four Kurdish dissidents in a West Berlin Greek restaurant in 1992.
Now, Iran’s agents and military commanders will get a shot in the arm to carry out their activities in Europe.
While Israeli, Jewish and Iranian dissidents are front-and-center in the minds of Iranian terrorists, Tehran’s long reach will have bloody consequences across Europe.
In 2023, after scores of Iranian terrorists and their organizations are delisted from sanctions, Europe faces dangerous times.The writer is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense for Democracies.