Why Can’t the Iranian Assassination Machine be Braked?

With the emergence of the Danish convictions against Iran, another country has been added to the other European countries like Austria, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and Norway denouncing Iran’s violations. Denmark was targeted by the Iranian security circles through assassination of opponents of the Islamic Republic of Iran. As the issue of carrying out terrorist operations throughout Europe is put for discussion, the Islamic Republic of Iran is apparently going to encounter difficulties in convincing the Europeans to mitigate the effects of U.S. sanctions that were put into effect in November 2018.     

In this article, we will try to find an answer to a question that constitutes a hassle for many: Why does the assassination machine of the Islamic Republic of Iran continue under complicated situations Iran is currently undergoing on both internal and external levels?    

Iranian Ambassador to Norway was called on by Norwegian Foreign Ministry and handed over a condemnation memorandum issued by the five Scandinavian countries in which the five states strongly condemned Iran’s attempts to assassinate Iranian opposition figures in Denmark. Iranian Ambassador was notified of the Danish insistence on imposing new sanction on Iran with the support of Germany, Great Britain and the United States of America. Imposing additional sanctions on Iran reveals how serious and important it is for these European countries. The European determination also reveals to what extent the Iranian acts will cost Iran.   

In contrast, Iranian reactions have been confined to rejecting those convictions, and attributing them to what they called deliberate conspiracies plotted by Israeli Mossad and other Iran-opposing organizations like Iranian Mujahedy Khalq. Controversially, arresting the Iranian diplomat in the Iranian Embassy in Vienna, and constant recurrent deportation of Iranian ambassadors and diplomats in several European countries followed by closure of bank accounts that belong to Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, and other highly-profiled debated issues like that during a summit held by Rouhani, Merkle and Austrian president, reveal that the European side has not been satisfied with the Iranian illogic acclaims.       

Why Now? Why in Europe?

It is not an unusual question that comes to mind “why has Iran just activated its assassination machine now? Iran has resumed assassinations following a long period of suspension as the Europeans say. It has turned its verbal threats into practical acts in Europe in the meantime Iran is in an urgent need for Europe that will supposedly help it preserve the Nuclear Deal, and mitigate overwhelming effects of the American sanctions.      

Hassan Rouhani, in an article published in “Financial Times” Newspaper on Thursday November 1st 2018, emphasized the importance of expansion of Euro-Iranian cooperation, but he never mentioned anything related to the surg of new convictions against Iran by the United States of America, Israel, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as these countries are Against the Nuclear Deal. He went further to urge the European countries to preserve the Nuclear Deal with Iran.

In the above-mentioned article, the Iranian president also uncovered the commencement of negotiations between the European Union and Iran on regional issues, but he did not reveal the nature of these negotiations, and whether they were held as called for by the Europeans or not. He did not state whether foreign policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran would be included in these negotiations or negotiations would be confined to general discussions on Yemen. That was really criticized by the European countries, the United States of America, and several other neighboring countries in the region.     

As long as the Iranian security tools are active in Europe, the European Union will encounter difficulties in adapting a generally moderate approach towards regional policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.    

Assassinations: Effective Strategy or High-Cost Tactics?

The inclination to physically exterminate opposition figures has got a long eventful record in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The first vanguard of this record was shortly after the victory of the revolution in Iran, wherein Assassination operations expanded inland and abroad in addition to the brutal suppression and exile of the Iranian opposing forces.

Throughout operations perpetrated by the security forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially in the 198s and 1990s of the 20th Century, too many senior opposing figures were assassinated like Shabour Bakhtiyar, Abdul-al-Rahman Qassimlo, Sadeq Sherafkandi, Abdul-al-Rahman Brouman, Ghulam Ali Avesi, Fareedon Farkhzad and other well-known opponents. 

In addition to denial of those operations by the Iranian government and deeming them as enemy-plotted conspiracies and as Islamic republic-opposing organizations intrigues, there was another interpretation presented by the Reformist Trend in Iran that the assassination operations had been carried out by non-governmental forces, and those forces had been working independently   from foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran.          

Although some European reactions had been attention worthless in some cases, other cases like the operation in Berlin Mykonos restaurant and the assassination of Sadeq Sherafkandi were met with strong reactions by the European countries, and the problem was widely argument-stimulant. Meanwhile, chief officials in the Iranian regime, including Khamenei, Hashmi Rafsanjani and Ali Akbar Velayati were convicted of being perpetrators.        

Despite European reactions to Iran’s behavior, relations have been consistent with the Iranian regime, and they continued fairly good political and economic relationships though they had undergone some fluctuations. The radical trend in Iran strongly believed that assassinations and extermination of opponents was the most efficient solution, so these operations continued with no regard to bad consequences and spillovers that would result from these operations.   

In this regard, the best examples of Iran direct involvement in assassinations are the assassinations of diplomats like Mohammad Reza Kalahi Samadi and Ahmad Necey in Holland that occurred during the previous years, and the Iranian regime’s efforts to detonate the group of Mujahedeen-e- Khalq (MEK) meeting place in Paris on June 30th 2018. 

In March 2007, Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad talked about the Iranian nuclear file. He said: “Iran has broken its brakes and the reverse cog in the gear box of its nuclear program.”

Although the Iranian nuclear program had witnessed a temporary cessation, Ahmadi Nejad’s declaration revealed the rigid thought and behavioral principles of decision-makers in the Islamic Republic of Iran.          

In this context, Hussein Shariat Mdari, the representative of the Supreme Leader in Iran, referred to the students’ protests that broke out in July 1999. He implicitly talked about the way the regime had dealt with protestors: “The Islamic Republic, when suppressing opponents, is like a car, uncontrolled by brakes or by steering wheel, going down a very steep cliff and denies all instructions.”    

After that, Sharia Mdari repeatedly emphasized this point, he deemed the current situation of several officials of the Islamic Republic in Iran to be attributed to the extremists’ attitude in Iran.

Thus, it is not abnormal to see him criticizing the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and convicting it of negativity and deficiency in the face of the Europeans’ impudence, as he put it.  

After the attack on the military procession in Ahvaz, Hussein Sharia Mdari openly threatened by saying: “We should not waste this opportunity. Since pro-Islamic advocates are spreading both in Iran and worldwide. From now on, these germs of corruption and destruction should be afraid even of their shadows”, he added.      

In addition to evidence and indications mentioned above that were delivered by Iranian high officials, we can refer to the declaration of Major General Masoud Jazayeri in November 2009, and his emphasis on identifying protestors and opposition figures who rejected 2009 elections when he threatened to put protests down through an “adequate reply”. 

In conclusion, such speeches that are frequently delivered by decision-makers in Iran refer to their points of view, that assassination and physical extermination of Iranian opponents abroad is deemed as a legitimate tool for dealing with opponents.

Even if the Iranian assassination machine stops for a while because of some inconvenient conditions, the Islamic Republic of Iran will resume these activities whenever there is a need and a chance.

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