By Shayan Arya and Babak Behzadi
There are intensive efforts by some groups with ties to the Islamic regime’s officials such as NIAC, National Iranian American Council, and AIC, American Iranian Council to convince the U.S. administration as well as members of congress to end economic sanctions or at least not to impose new ones as a goodwill gesture prior to the pending Obama administrations negotiations with Tehran.
On March 12, 2009, Dr. Trita Parsi, president of NIAC, testified in front of “House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monitory Policy and Trade”. In his prepared statement, entitled “Changing Iran’s Behavior”, while applauding Obama administration for “its much needed efforts” in starting a dialogue, he urged the congress not to pass new sanctions and stated that “These efforts, however, will be undermined if Congress passes additional sanctions before diplomacy has begun.” He further argued for lifting of sanctions all together.
But before members of congress fall into the trap Islamic regime with the help of NIAC has laid in front of them a brief review of European history of dealing with Islamic Republic may be in order.
In Paris in December of 1979, shortly after Islamic regime came to power, the late Shahriar Shafigh, nephew of the late shah of Iran was assassinated. He became the first in line of nearly 200 Iranian exiles who would be assassinated in Europe over the next 17 years.
Europe’s response throughout 1980s and 1990s to the Islamic regime’s terror machine could at best be described as indifferent and at worst complacent. Islamic regime agents shot, stabbed and blew up Iranian exiles, while European countries police and intelligent services looked the other way. Economic interest was at peril for many European countries.
Nearly 170 German companies, including Siemens, Krupp, Daimler-Bens along with hundreds of other European companies had operations in Iran. European Union’s official policy was described as a “Critical Dialogue.” Yet the killings of Iranian opponents of the Islamic regime both outside and inside Iran continued and Iran’s deadly game of supporting terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad continued. It is also note worthy to mention that it was during that period that Islamic regime restarted its nuclear program in total secrecy and in violation of its obligations under IAEA rules.
On April 4 1997, the German court convicted five Islamic regime agents of the massacre that took place on September 18, 1992 in Berlin in which four Iranian Kurdish leaders were killed while dining in a restaurant. In its ruling, the court asserted the “involvement of senior echelons of the Iranian Government in political murder.” As a result of the ruling, Germany along with many European countries called back their ambassadors and imposed trade restriction. It was this imposition of political and economic sanctions that finally convinced the Islamic regime to stop its killing machine. No one has been assassinated in Europe ever since.
For more than 17 years, while hundreds of European companies were operating in Iran, Islamic regime violated European countries sovereignty by assassinating more than 200 dissidents in Europe. Billions of dollars worth of commercial trades and years of “Critical Dialogue” failed to convince the Islamic regime to stop its killing machine and change its policy, but a court ruling and imposition of restrictions on trade finally did the job. Yet ironically, Dr. Trita Parsi claims in his testimony that “there has not been a single instance in which that pain (of sanctions) has translated into a desirable change in the Iranian government’s policies.”
In his prepared statement, Dr. Trita Parsi disingenuously speaks in length on “The failure of past U.S. sanctions” failing to state the obvious that while US was imposing sanctions up until recently the rest of the world and even Europeans were busily undermining US sanctions. Yet even he admits that “recent financial sanctions in particular have created significant obstacles for the Iranian economy. Banks have had great difficulty in financing projects, export credits have not been made available and capital flight has increased.”
Good intentioned members of congress as well as President Obama’s administration will be well advised to ignore Islamic regime's lobbyists and remember the lessons of history. For as George Santayana famously said,” Those who can not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” President Obama should be applauded for renewing sanctions on Tehran and for ignoring calls to lift the sanctions ahead of negotiations with Tehran.
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