On September 26, President Trump will chair a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, similar to the role chosen in 2009 by former President Obama when he addressed the Council on nuclear proliferation issues.
Hopefully, the administration will say something along these lines:
Members of the United Nations Security Council:
With the end of the nuclear agreement with Iran, the United States and our like-minded allies are giving Tehran a choice. End your campaign of terror, including your missile and nuclear threats against your neighbors and the West, or be a pariah among all nations and foreclose a free and prosperous future for your people.
Why such a choice? Clearly, that choice and our proposal [are] predicated on the United States appraisal of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
However much we hoped the agreement was a genuine understanding that would end Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weaponry, it actually provided a shield behind which Iran could build a major nuclear enterprise of industrial dimensions and ultimately be within a few months or even a few weeks away from creating a nuclear arsenal. One top expert has concluded that Iran can undermine the very purposes of the agreement while actually meeting its technical requirements.
America is at the United Nations today to urge all nations to squarely face the music. We are now certain that Iran has no intention of ending its pursuit of nuclear weapons. And in response to those who have urged Iran to “moderate” its terrorist character, we have seen Tehran double down on its status as the world’s premier state sponsor of terrorism.
Some in the United States and among our allies adopted a policy of appeasement to try and encourage better behavior by Tehran. The Iranian regime’s response was to reach out, but not by extending a hand of friendship.
When the European Union decried the American restoration of sanctions on Iran and vowed to provide help for their businesses operating in Iran to evade sanctions, the Iranian regime responded by launching terror operations and plotting at least two attacks in Europe.
It did not end there. Emboldened by decades of western appeasement and pliancy, Iran targeted Iranian dissidents on American soil, an unprecedented move.
Faced by an ongoing series of strikes and violent unrest at home because of the corruption and mismanagement that has created water shortages and hikes in food prices, Iran’s rulers decided to divert attention from their failures and so ramped up their export of terror, first to Albania, then to France, and more recently to the United States.
Their first onslaught was in reaction to the stinging setback Tehran suffered when more than 2,000 Iranian dissidents of the opposition People’s Mojahedin of Iran (MEK) — who Tehran tried to annihilate in Iraq — were relocated to Albania in 2016. In March of this year, Albanian investigators foiled an Iranian truck bomb attack on an MEK celebration marking the Persian New Year. Thousands were in attendance, including Iranian opposition leaders as well as many officials from the U.S. embassy in Tirana.
U.S. counterterrorism officials have confirmed that Albanian authorities arrested two Iranian operatives on terror charges. Meanwhile, Iran increased staff, scope and investment in its embassy in Albania, previously no more than a small office, and Tehran’s top diplomat-spy in Europe was reassigned to the Albanian capital.
The next instance of aggressive Iranian outreach came in June, when an Iranian diplomat based in Vienna was one of four arrested for an alleged plot to bomb the annual gathering in Paris of Iranian dissident groups organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Dozens of current and former U.S. and European officials were in attendance, including former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
German prosecutors allege that the arrested diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, is a member of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) who was tasked with destroying domestic and foreign opposition groups. Assadi has been charged with being an illegal foreign agent and for conspiracy to commit murder. We cannot even estimate how many of the 100,000 participants in the Paris gathering, including Western dignitaries, would have been killed had the plot not been uncovered.
Then the long arm of Tehran’s terror reached America. Two Iranians who had collected intelligence on opposition movements in the U.S., and who took photographs of Jewish and Israeli institutions in the United States, were charged with spying for the Iranian government.
U.S. Magistrate G. Michael Harvey of the District of Columbia said the case bore the “hallmarks of state action.” The judge cited the purported use of code names, counter-surveillance tactics, and “tasking” orders to infiltrate the opposition organization.
Court documents indicate that two of the targets were Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the Washington office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and his colleague, Ali Safavi, who sits on NCRI’s Foreign Affairs Committee. It was NCRI’s revelations about Iran’s nuclear sites in August 2002 that triggered the first inspections in Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
These examples of Iranian state-sponsored terrorism are disturbing for many reasons. The foiled plots in Albania and Paris are similar to ISIS operations with their objectives of targeting crowds and killing great numbers. In the case of Paris, Iran apparently planned to include high-level U.S. officials and other guests in the carnage, a calculation that could only have been approved by the highest level of Tehran’s leadership, all the way up to the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed to the Paris plot as proof of Iran’s deadly intentions, saying, ‘This tells you everything you need to know about the regime: At the same time they’re trying to convince Europe to stay in the nuclear deal, they’re covertly plotting terrorist attacks in the heart of Europe.’
Iran is indeed reaching out to the West, but not in moderation or reform. Instead, it has extended its use of terrorism as a foreign policy tool, even on American soil. But the Islamic Republic’s wager that it can influence my administration’s hardline policies against violence is unwise. These recent terrorist plots will increase the pressure on the E.U. to support U.S. efforts to convince Iran to change its rogue behavior or to change its regime.
Crowds of citizens in Iran now cry, “Death to the Dictator,” and for the last eight months, they have courageously shown that they want a regime change. America will support the Iranian people in their fight for freedom.
Peter Huessy is the director for strategic deterrent studies at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.