As I see it: The Iran opportunity and European infamy

Iran’s brave dissidents desperately need Western support if they are to continue pitting their lives against the regime.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks live on television after casting his ballot in the Iranian presidential election in Tehran June 12, 2009 (photo credit: REUTERS/CAREN FIROUZ)
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks live on television after casting his ballot in the Iranian presidential election in Tehran June 12, 2009
(photo credit: REUTERS/CAREN FIROUZ)
A senior Iranian official has accused Israel of stealing its clouds. Yes, you read that right. Clouds as in the sky.
Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization, has said: “Israel and another country in the region have joint teams which work to ensure clouds entering Iranian skies are unable to release rain. On top of that, we are facing the issue of cloud and snow theft.”
His evidence? A survey showing that all mountainous areas higher than 2,200 meters between Afghanistan and the Mediterranean were covered in snow except for Iran.
Case closed, eh? Although the general’s claim was refuted by the head of Iran’s meteorological service, it fits the regime’s generally paranoid and deranged statements about, and threats against, Israel and the Jews.
Such lunacies should constitute a red flag against having any dealings at all with such people. Yet Britain and the EU continue to insist on treating them as rational negotiating partners instead of the genocidal religious fanatics that they are.
This illustrates a refusal to acknowledge the real point about antisemitism: that it is not just a prejudice but a marker of paranoid derangement and an eclipse of reason.
Britain and the EU regard the Iranian fanatics as people with whom they can to do business – both diplomatic and economic. But the only reasonable, moral and self-defense position is to regard them as a regime beyond the pale which must be destroyed.
No one wants war; the aim should be to prevent the terrible war that is almost inevitable unless the Iranian regime is removed. The best and most likely way to achieve this is for the people of Iran to rise up against it.
For the last few months, that has been happening. From December to January, nearly 5,000 people were arrested during protests in which at least 21 people died.
Last week, thousands demonstrated in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar with unconfirmed reports that four protesters were killed.
The unrest is driven by Iran’s crippling economic conditions. Unemployment is soaring as Iran’s currency, the rial, has plummeted. Khorramshahr in southwest Iran has been without potable water for more than two weeks.
The result is popular demand for an end to the regime itself. In stark contrast to uprisings that have erupted in the Arab world, the Iranian demonstrators support Israel and the West. The Iranian regime regularly pronounces “Death to Israel.”
The protesters have been shouting instead “Death to Palestine” and demanding that the regime stops funding Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria’s President Assad and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
SUDDENLY, what seemed impossible is now being talked about as a distinct possibility: that a regime which until now has been strutting across the region imposing increasing control may in fact collapse.
So what’s changed? In two words: President Trump. By withdrawing the US from the Iran nuclear deal, he has changed the entire power dynamic within Iran and in the region. Now sanctions have been reimposed and are about to bite far more severely.
With tacit backing by both the US and Russia, Israel has been attacking Iranian military assets across Syria.
The game is now afoot to achieve what until now no one contemplated as a serious possibility: to pry Russia away from Iran and squeeze Iran out of Syria, thus smashing the fulcrum of Iranian power in the region.
While the Left in Britain, Europe and America froths and fulminates that the forthcoming US-Russia summit proves that US President Donald Trump is in the pocket of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, a bargain is being developed between them which may deal a fatal blow to Iranian power.
Russia is coming to realize that, having used Iran to gain a foothold in the region, its asset is turning into a liability. That’s because the regional stability Russia now needs is actively threatened by the growing reality of Israeli war in Syria against Iran.
So Russia is throwing Iran under the bus.
That’s why it sided with Saudi Arabia over increasing oil production to restrain oil prices which can cripple Tehran. Russia has previously said Iran must pull out of Syria once the war there is over.
Now Putin reportedly wants to strike a broader deal with the Trump administration.
This would apparently involve the US pulling its troops out of Syria while Russia pushes Iran at least away from proximity to Israel, if not out of Syria altogether.
Clearly, much remains murky and alarming about such a complex dance of deterrence.
America’s ultimate strategic goal, however, is clear: to weaken, stymie and ultimately destroy the Islamic regime in Iran.
Yet, incredibly, Britain and Europe are still attempting to support it. This weekend, the five powers still party to the nuclear deal – Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia – are meeting Iran’s foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif in Vienna to discuss how it might continue without US support.
This, even though earlier this week, six people were arrested in Belgium, France and Germany, including an Iranian diplomat posted to Vienna, over an alleged Iranian terrorist plot to attack an Iranian-opposition rally in a Paris suburb this weekend.
BRITAIN, FRANCE and Germany may realize very soon that they will need to choose between trading with Iran and trading with the US. The State Department has threatened to punish sanctions violators, while major European companies such as Peugeot, Siemens and Total are reportedly preparing to halt their dealings with Tehran.
Both Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have made a point of telling the Iranian people that they have American and Israeli support and that the fight by the US and Israel is merely against the regime that oppresses them.
Iran’s brave dissidents desperately need Western support, both material and psychological, if they are to continue pitting their lives against the regime. Yet, appallingly and shamefully, their protests are receiving virtually no coverage at all in the British or American media. Instead of the wider support needed to help them bring down the regime, they’re being ignored.
Trump is trying to do something which for the first time looks like it might just be possible: to neutralize the Iranian regime, and thus not only rid the world of its most deadly threat to life and liberty but make the defeat of other malign actors such as North Korea more likely.
It may not work. But whatever happens, the role being played by Britain, France and Germany and the decadent Western media will surely be bracketed by future historians with Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler in the annals of political infamy.
The author is a columnist for The Times (UK)