The failed plot by the Iranian regime to bomb an annual gathering of the Iranian opposition movement outside of Paris began the journey to trial when Germany transferred an Iranian diplomat involved in the plot to Belgium where he was charged with planning the terror attack according to a state prosecutor.
The diplomat, identified only by his given name as Assadollah Assadi, worked
at the Iranian embassy in Vienna. The other three alleged participants have
also been charged in Belgium.
Two of them were arrested by Belgian police in June with 500 grams (one lb)
of TATP, an explosive that can be home-made from easily available chemicals, as
well as a detonation device.
Iran predictably denied French accusations that one of its
diplomats was involved in a plot targeting an annual gathering of the National
Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) on June 30.
Tehran summoned the German ambassador to complain
The audacity of the Iranian plot and the mullahs’
willingness to suffer the repercussions of international condemnation highlight
their long embrace of terrorism as a tool of statecraft. It also reaffirms the correctness
of the decision by the U.S. to pullout of the Iran nuclear deal and re-impose
economic sanctions because of the regime’s support of terrorism.
The long civil wars in Syria and Yemen have also reinforced
the perception that the mullahs in Tehran care little about international
diplomacy and peace initiatives and instead are intently focused on
strengthening their control over neighboring countries and suppressing the
rights of their own people in order to curb dissent.
That internal struggle has manifested itself in a long
series of ever-growing protests that have threatened the mullahs hold on power
and rocked Iranian society to its core.
In the last iteration of that unrest, shop owners in Iran
have joined truck drivers in a strike across dozens of cities in protest
against deteriorating living conditions amid widespread economic woes.
Sources told the National that a number of shopkeepers refused to open their shops in the second day of strikes.
Truck drivers began the strike more than two weeks ago in
cities across Iran, including major cities such as Tabriz. According to Arabic
newspaper Al Hayat, at least 320 cities have been affected.
Iran News Wire, an opposition news agency based in San Diego,
posted a video of stationary trucks supposedly parked in protest in the city of
Dorud in Lorestan Province.
“At its heart, it’s the socio-economic situation that is
largely driving the recent discontent, with strikes serving as a means to voice
these grievances – poverty, unemployment, low wages, lack of economic growth,
and depreciating currency, rising prices,” said Kierat Ranautta-Sambhi, a
regional security analyst at Le Beck International.
The International Monetary Fund predicted last May that the
US administration’s announcement of their withdrawal from the nuclear
agreement, would shrink the Iranian economy by 1.5 per cent this year and 3.6
per cent in 2019.
Iran’s economic woes have been exacerbated by pitiful
management of the country’s environment resulting in massive drought conditions
wiping out once fertile farmlands. That environmental impact has spread to
neighboring Iraq where Iran has cut off water supplies into the Tigris river in
order to divert supplies to Iranian agriculture projects.
The ripple effect of the regime’s decisions is having
devastating impacts as social media has been flooded with images of people
across the Tigris, a never previously recorded phenomenon.
It may not be coincidental that move to cut off Iraqi water
is having a deleterious effect on Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, as
well as added to deep public dissatisfaction in Iraq over economic issues.
Both may be efforts by the mullahs to further destabilize
potential threats and allow them to sow chaos thereby allowing them to continue
exerting influence on their neighbors.
The weaponization of food and water are a logical next step
in the terrorist tool kit for the Iranian regime and only proves the depths the
regime is willing to go to achieve its aims no matter what innocents are harmed
in the process.
The looming U.S. economic sanctions, especially those due to
kick in next month on Iran’s oil industry, may in the long run prove too much
for the mullahs to overcome as the U.S. Treasury Department warned the rest of
the world to beware of money fleeing the Islamic state, especially funds being
smuggled out by friends and families of the mullahs and those controlling the
Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“Any country that
allows its central bank to be involved in deception in support of [Iranian]
terrorism requires the highest levels of scrutiny, particularly when the
country itself is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism,” Treasury
Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker said Thursday.
The Financial Crimes
Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued the advisory “to help financial
institutions better detect and report potentially illicit transactions related
to the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Ultimately the true test of the Iranian regime’s commitment
to terrorism will come when the full force of sanctions hit and the mullahs
will have to decide whether or not to reform their government or face a popular
uprising from the Iranian people.