The European Union on Tuesday passed a series of pathetic sanctions on Iran. These follow Iran’s repeated terrorist acts and attempts on European soil. While lauded by European multilateralists, the sanctions are too weak to affect Iran’s future cost-benefit analysis of terrorist plotting. Indeed, their weak quality will likely embolden Iranian terrorist plotters.
Of course, EU officials see things differently. They suggest that the sanctions targeting two Iranian officials and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence are a tough representation of the EU’s resolve in defending its interests.
Unfortunately, they are manifestly wrong. Serious sanctions would have meant expelling dozens of Iranian intelligence officers from their embassy cover stations across Europe. Or sanctioning Iranian front companies and banking facilitators across Europe. Or issuing a joint communique threatening that future such activity will lead to the EU’s reconsidered support for the Iran nuclear deal.
Instead, these sanctions are Europe’s version of the Obama administration response to Iran’s failed 2011 attempt to blow up a Washington, D.C., restaurant. It represents the avoidance of resolute action in fear of aggravating those same elements that have just tried to murder European citizens. Namely, the Iranian hard-liners centered around the MOIS and the Revolutionary Guard Corps. It’s appeasement, pure and simple.
But it’s also idiocy. Because the only way to deal with those like the MOIS deputy director and intelligence officer targeted with these sanctions is to send a far harsher message to the organizations and leaders they serve. Following exceptionally aggressive plots such as the Paris bombing plan that most precipitated these sanctions (and would have led to dozens of casualties, likely including Rudy Giuliani), the only recourse is aggressive reprisal.
Which is to say, we should be neutralizing those directly tied to the act and leaving their underlings with the choice of whether to follow the departed’s example. Only resolve gives the Iranian hard-liners pause to reconsider their reflex toward violent aggression. Yet this weak half-hearted action against them only reflects a deeper malaise when it comes to EU policy on Iran. Because aside from Britain, France, and Poland, the EU remains beset by the delusion that taking on the Iranian hardliners means marginalizing the Iranian more-moderates. The two groups are more distinct than Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton contend, but confronting the hardliners strengthens, not harms, the more-moderates.
But the ultimate point here is quite simple. Regardless of what one thinks about the U.S. course of escalation on Iran, it is ludicrous to believe you can deter Iranian terrorism with hesitant appeasement.
Source » washingtonexaminer