We need only look back two years to see an example. In that case it was 2009 and the world looked on as millions of Iranians gathered in Tehran’s cities to demand democratic change following fraudulent presidential elections. The face of one young lady, Neda Agha Soltan told the story of an entire nation as a video of her death during those protests was broadcast across the world. On that occasion the Iranian regime’s propaganda machine blamed Iran’s largest opposition group, the Mujahedeen e Khalq (MEK) for the murder of Neda. Today the regime has once again tried to blame the MEK for the plot to murder the Saudi Ambassador. As on that occasion the current assertion by the regime is ridiculous and part of a multi-million pound campaign of misinformation against the MEK over many years. It is just surprising on this occasion that the Iranian regime has not as on numerous previous occasions also blamed the US and UK governments.
Although attempting to blame the MEK in such scenarios is nothing new and should be treated with the contempt which it deserves, the regime’s threats against Saudi Arabia are a clear attempt to get the international community not to act over this incident for fear of further Iranian reprisals. On October 16, Hossein Taeb, a very close aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and responsible for the plain-clothes repressive unit known as Ammar, publically stated: “should we need to terrorize, we have the capability to terror King Abdullah himself.”
Whatever the ins and outs of the plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in the US will surely come out through time, the reality is that for as long as the international community totters around the issues relating to Iranian regime support for terrorism and nuclear defiance as if walking on eggshells this regime will continue its defiance. The time is well overdue for the international community to take decisive action against the Iranian regime.
This requires the international community to isolate the regime for its actions, which can be achieved with full and comprehensive sanctions which target the regime’s core. These sanctions will squeeze the Iranian regime’s financial ability to support terrorism and continue unabated with its nuclear program. We must couple this with support for opposition groups working towards democratic change in Iran.
Failure to deal forcefully with this latest threat posed by the Iranian regime will send a message of weakness to the Iranian regime, giving that regime the understanding that it can do as it wishes across the world without the fear of reprisals from the international community, an extremely dangerous situation leading to unknown and treacherous potential future confrontations.
David Amess is a Conservative Member of the U.K. Parliament and represents the constituency of Southend West.