Last week, the EU introduced new sanctions against Tehran, in response to an Iranian campaign of assassinations throughout Western Europe. Yet these measures are unlikely to have much bite, especially as European leaders are committed to upholding the 2015 nuclear deal, as Con Coughlin writes. (Free registration required.)

In 2015, . . . the fifty-six-year-old Iranian opposition activist Ali Motamed was assassinated in the Dutch city of Almere. This was followed by the murder of Ahmad Molla Nissi, another critic of the Iranian regime, in The Hague in 2017. The Dutch intelligence service has publicly stated that it has “strong indications that Iran was involved in the assassinations of two Dutch nationals.” Then there was last summer’s failed plot to bomb an Iranian opposition rally in Paris, which was attended by the former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, [and] which Paris believes was organized by Assadollah Assadi, a senior member in Iran’s intelligence ministry. . . . .

The spike in Iranian terrorist activity is by no means confined to Europe. Before Christmas, Brian Hook, the Trump administration’s special representative for Iran, provided a damning dossier of Iran’s increased activity in the Arab world, presenting a selection of Iranian-made weapons that have been used in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria. . . . The threat is certainly not being underestimated by British intelligence officials, who tell me that in 2019 Iran is likely to be their main focus in the Middle East, taking precedence over threats such as Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

By contrast, the EU’s response to the compelling evidence regarding the recent upsurge in Iranian-sponsored terrorism has been decidedly underwhelming. . . . The lucrative trade ties that many European countries—particularly Germany, France, and Italy—have developed with Iran since the nuclear deal was signed mean they are reluctant to support the implementation of serious measures against Iran. Indeed, not content with opposing the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal, the EU is now attempting to circumvent U.S. sanctions through the establishment of the Special Purpose Vehicle, a measure designed to allow European companies to continue trading with Iran without attracting punitive measures from the U.S.

Source » mosaicmagazine