Holding back imperial Iranian theocracy

The EU must unite on effective economic and diplomatic sanctions.

ahmedinejad 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
ahmedinejad 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
While extreme nationalist and political passions are far from dissipated, religious fanaticism, Islamic fanaticism in particular has became the driving force of much of the intolerance found around the world. A perpetual source of conflict with Islam itself has been between fundamentalist and evolutionist readings of the Koran, greater perhaps than any theological dispute within that faith. But the new brand of fanaticism born towards the end of the 20th century is of a totally different nature. The theocratic doctrine that came to light in the second half of the 20th century in the main Shi'ite school of Najaf in Iraq, later to be put in practice by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 in Iran, introduced three devastating elements: (1) the principle of the rule of the religious authority; (2) suicidal terrorism as a major political-religious-military tool; and (3) world domination, the first step being "through Karbala to al-Quds [Jerusalem]," with the ultimate goal of "introducing the Islamic revolution to all of mankind" (President Ahmadinejad to the Assembly of Experts, IRNA, February 25, 2008 - translation by MEMRI). THE IRANIAN clergy's traditional weapon of manipulation and dissimulation has so far proved more successful than any other in winning its first strategic objective: to dominate Karbala, the Shi'ite holy city located in Iraq. On the other hand, Ayatollah Khonmeini's strategic decision to develop a nuclear weapon, made at the time he drunk from the "glass of the poison of peace" with Iraq, has been hampered by sheer incompetence and, even more so, by the resilience of the Iranian resistance, which revealed to the world the regime's nuclear plans despite decades of ferocious persecution by Iranian authorities in cooperation with Western governments. Western diplomacy has been busy searching for the reasonable, peace-loving Iranian cleric who will reject embarrassing human rights abuses, imperial aims and, last but not least, Holocaust denial and threats to wipe Israel off the map as made Ayatollah Khomeini and recently reaffirmed by President Ahmadinejad. The loose interpretation of United Nations resolutions 1737, 1747 and 1803 on sanctions against Iran given by some EU member states - Austria conspicuous among them - is astonishingly enough supported by the European Commission. This demands a firm response from clear-thinking, anti-fascist EU politicians. In addition, closer analysis of possible judicial action is called for. Although the European Court of Justice jurisprudence has a historical bias against what might be considered class-action suits, recent developments and the special life-threatening characteristics of the Iranian imperial threat should make us carefully consider this option. We have to think of smart alternatives to avoid being squeezed between "business as usual" and war. AN INTELLIGENT strategy to face theocratic imperialism must begin by supporting a realistic political and popular opposition instead of betting on fake reformist alternatives. Europe has been unable to act as a united force in facing Teheran, not even through economic strategy. Yet the Iranian regime badly needs Western technology which it will not find easily in the rest of the world. An intelligent combination of economic and diplomatic sanctions is an essential piece of any reliable strategy to stop the nuclear bomb of fanaticism. The writer is a Portuguese Socialist member of the European parliament. He will be attending the international conference The Iranian Threat, organized by the STOP THE BOMB coalition, that takes place today in Vienna.