by: Joshua Spurlock
Monday, 2 December 2019 | Against the backdrop of Iranian attacks in the region and the regime cracking down on protestors at home, six more European nations recently joined the economic tool intended to circumvent American sanctions on Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was incensed at the “absurd” European move and voiced his concerns on Sunday.
“These European countries should be ashamed of themselves. Have they learned nothing from history? Well, apparently not,” said Netanyahu in a statement released by his office. “They are enabling a fanatic terrorist state to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, thereby bringing disaster to themselves and upon everyone else.”
The Israeli premier’s frustration came after the main three European nations—France, Germany and the United Kingdom—last Friday “warmly” welcomed a half dozen other European nations agreeing to join the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX). The move “demonstrates European efforts to facilitate legitimate trade between Europe and Iran and is a clear expression of our continuing commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)” nuclear deal with Iran, said the statement published by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry joined Netanyahu in criticizing the European decision. “Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden could not have picked worse timing. The hundreds of innocent Iranians murdered during the latest round of protests are rolling in their graves,” said a press release posted to the Ministry website. “We ask these European countries—what message are you sending to the Iranian people? Would it not be more effective and ethical to designate the regime officials responsible for the murder of innocent civilians?”
While the three European nations, known as the E3, considered “full and effective implementation” of the JCPOA as being of the “utmost importance,” Netanyahu highlighted what Iran is doing in the meantime.
“While the Iranian regime is killing its own people, European countries rush to support that very murderous regime. While Iran bombs Saudi Arabia’s oil installations, while Iran rushes to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons, European countries rush to appease Iran with even more concessions,” said Netanyahu.
The E3 acknowledged that Iran hasn’t met their own obligations under the nuclear deal, but in the joint statement made only a general demand they do so. “Iran must return to full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA without delay,” said the European nations. “We remain fully committed to pursuing our efforts towards a diplomatic resolution within the framework of the JCPOA.”
Netanyahu, meanwhile, specifically listed out Iran’s crimes. In addition to violence against others in the Middle East, Iran has also brutally cracked down on their own people—as have Iran’s allies.
“In Tehran, in Baghdad, in Beirut, people are taking to the streets. They are being slaughtered by the hundreds, yet they continue to protest. The tyrants of Tehran shoot [the Iran protestors] to no avail. They tamper with the internet to no avail as well. The fearless and frustrated people of Iran simply refuse to be silenced,” said Netanyahu, who went on to also highlight the crackdowns in Iraq and Lebanon.
Netanyahu pointed to economic concerns as key to the protestors, and he pointed to the reason the protests are against the regimes and not US sanctions. “What is driving these people to risk their lives and stand up to their oppressors? Well, the answer is simple. They are fed up,” said Netanyahu. “They’re fed up with corruption. They’re fed up with failing economies. They’re fed off with the siphoning off of their treasure and their lives to Iran’s wars of aggression in the region.”
In response to Iran’s malfeasance, Netanyahu had a simple message for Europe and the world. “Now is the time to change course. Now is the time to ratchet up the pressures on Iran, not to lessen them. Now is the time to join the United States and increase sanctions against Iran,” said Netanyahu.
“To those who favor appeasement of Iran, I say this: History and your own people will judge you harshly. Change course now.”
Posted on December 2, 2019
Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on December 1, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)
Photo Credit: Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äusseres/wikimedia.org
Photo License: Wikimedia.org
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