The Trump administration on November 20, 2018 announced new sanctions designed to disrupt an alleged Iranian and Russian scheme to ship oil to Syria, billing it as part of Washington's “maximum pressure” campaign on Tehran and a push to cut off fuel supplies for Syrian leader Bashar Assad.
The Treasury Department designated nine targets linked to what it called an illicit plot involving officials in Iran working with Russian companies to send millions of barrels of oil to the Assad government in exchange for funds that Tehran then used to fund designated terrorist groups.
When US, UK, and French forces launched air strikes in April 2018 targeting sites associated with Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities, as reprisal for a chemical attack that killed at least 43 civilians and injured hundreds more, Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, said these coordinated air strikes were a crime that would bring no benefit.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry has also lashed out at the Western states that conducted the joint massive missile strike on targets in Syria and warned of “regional consequences.”
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has said the US-led attack against Syria would lead to the destruction of the Middle Eastern countries. This bluster and heated rhetoric about “the region” sounds on the face of it about par for the course for the mullahs, but in truth, they probably do realize that it was really a strike against Iranian capacities in the region.
This event proved the rightful cry of Iranians protesting against the regime “No Gaza, No Lebanon, I Sacrifice My Life for Iran”. Iranian social unrest and protests have spread widely across the country.
Sources in Iran say the anxiety has increased daily over the corruption, high inflation, and growing unemployment and direct action continues despite the constant threats, deceptive promises and other strike-breaking measures of the regime. These also include the arrests of a large number of workers, as the strikes continue in Shush, Ahvaz, Esfahan, Karaj.
And while these events are unfolding inside Iran, on the international stage three were arrested after terror attack foiled: Plot to bomb Iran rally halted after car with explosives found.
On July 2, 2018, an Iranian diplomat was among three people arrested over an alleged terror threat after a plot to bomb a Free Iran rally in Paris was discovered by Belgian authorities. Three terror plot suspects were arrested in France and Germany over an alleged terror attack plot to bomb a rally organized by the main opposition group in Paris.
And on Oct 30, 2018, Denmark foiled an “Iranian intelligence agency” attack. Danish security officials have accused Iranian intelligence of “planning an attack on Danish soil” against Iranian Arab dissidents that Tehran has linked to recent terrorist attacks inside Iran.
Characteristically, Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign-policy chief, responded blandly that “we are following events.”
Even as Iranian hit squads are setting up shop across the Continent, the European Union is displaying a fundamental lack of seriousness about a country uninterested in distinctions between bombs, missiles, and assassinations.
The European Union vowed to follow the failed policy of appeasement under the pretext of economic relations with Iran.
Press reports said then that Western intelligence services were concerned about the possibility of Iran stepping up terrorist attacks in Europe and the US. The most destructive type of appeasement in the face of the Iranian regime’s religious dictatorship is remaining silent following terror attacks.”
However, those who doubt that US President Donald Trump’s Iran sanctions will hit their target should reconsider. It is true that their immediate impact on Iran’s oil export revenues will likely be minimal. But in the longer term, the effects of the sanctions on the regime could be significant.
And, in conclusion, whether or not the sanction has a significant effect the right solution lies in the hands of a generation risen in this path demanding the regime’s overthrow.
As the Iranian Resistance’s Leader has said, “The days of Khomeini’s heirs and the brutal mullahs are numbered. The dawn of freedom and justice is on the horizon.”
Hassan Mahmoudi is a human rights advocate, specializing in political and economic issues relating to Iran and the Middle East. Follow him on Twitter at @hassan_mahmou1