top of page

The EU's Complicity in Financing the Iranian Regime - by Majid Rafizadeh for the Gatestone Institute - 24.02.24

Behind these seemingly benign economic [trade] transactions... lies a troubling reality: the funds generated from Europe's trade with Iran are being funnelled into activities that are now prolonging violence and conflict, and posing a direct threat to European, Middle Eastern and North American security interests.... Since 2012, the Iranian regime has allocated more than $13 billion to support its network of proxies.


Iran's involvement in Russia's invasion of Ukraine, further underscores the malign use of funds derived from international trade. Iran has been supplying Russia with "hundreds of Iranian drones" via a direct route on the Caspian Sea, and, according to reports, "hundreds of ballistic missiles."


"Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to double the number of his country's troops stationed along its border with the Baltic states and Finland as part of Moscow's preparations for a potential military conflict with NATO within the next decade, Estonia's Foreign Intelligence Service said Tuesday." — USA Today, February 13, 2024.


It is a must that the EU takes decisive action to cut off the flow of funds to Iran and hold its regime accountable for its support of terrorism and international aggression. Only through robust and coordinated efforts can the EU effectively counter the Iranian regime's malign activities and safeguard the stability and security of the Middle East, Europe and the Free World.


Trade between Iran and the European Union (EU) has flourished over the years; this economic and diplomatic partnership is a large art of what has been fueling the Ayatollahs' support for terrorist groups and undermining regional stability. In recent years, the extent of their trade has reached significant levels, with billions of euros exchanged in goods and services. Behind these seemingly benign economic transactions, however, lies a troubling reality: the funds generated from Europe's trade with Iran are being funneled into activities that are now prolonging violence and conflict across the Middle East and beyond.


 

According to Iran's Tasnim News, trade between Iran and EU member states has been on the rise:


"The Statistical Office of the European Union, Eurostat, in its latest report, said the monthly trade between Iran and the European Union registered a 24 percent growth.


"Iran and the member states of the European Union exchanged more than €450 million worth of products in November 2023, showing a 24-percent growth compared to Noevmber 2022.


"The 27 EU member states exported about €3.5 billion worth of non-oil products to Iran in the 11 months of 2023 (January to November).


"Eurostat put the total value of the trade exchanges between Iran and 27 member states of the European Union from January to November 2023 at €4.214 billion, showing a 12 percent decline compared to the same period a year earlier...


"The value of the EU imports from Iran between January and November 2023 reached €730 million, registering a 25 percent decline compared to the previous year's corresponding period."


The Iranian regime has consistently used revenue generated from international trade to support, train and arm various terrorist groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Houthis. Since 2012, the Iranian regime has allocated more than $13 billion to support its network of proxies. According to estimates from the US State Department, Iran provides approximately $100 million annually to Palestinian terror groups, including Hamas. Additionally, an estimated $700 million per year is funneled to Hezbollah.


These groups have been responsible for countless acts of violence and terrorism across the Middle East, threatening the stability of the region and posing a direct threat to European, Middle Eastern and North American security interests.


Iran's involvement in Russia's invasion of Ukraine further underscores the malign use of funds derived from international trade. Iran has been supplying Russia with "hundreds of Iranian drones" via a direct route on the Caspian Sea, and, according to reports, "hundreds of ballistic missiles."

 

According to USA Today:


"Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to double the number of his country's troops stationed along its border with the Baltic states and Finland as part of Moscow's preparations for a potential military conflict with NATO within the next decade, Estonia's Foreign Intelligence Service said Tuesday."


The head of Estonia's intelligence service recently said:


"Russia has chosen a path which is a long-term confrontation ... and the Kremlin is probably anticipating a possible conflict with NATO within the next decade or so."


The EU's trade with Iran not only serves as a source of funding for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), it also plays a pivotal role in empowering the Iranian regime to suppress its own people, opposition groups, and advocates for democracy with an even greater force. The substantial financial resources generated through trade enable the IRGC to expand its repressive apparatus, including its surveillance capabilities, crackdowns on dissent, and support for paramilitary groups.


This financial lifeline not only perpetuates the regime's grip on power but also exacerbates the suffering of Iranians striving for freedom and democracy. As the regime strengthens its oppressive tactics with the aid of trade revenue, the prospects for meaningful political change and human rights advancements in Iran are further diminished, highlighting the detrimental impact of economic engagement with authoritarian regimes.


There is, however, a clear path forward for the EU to counter the Iranian regime's destabilizing activities and protect its own interests. First, the EU must immediately cease all trade with Iran, cutting off a crucial source of funding for terrorism and regional instability.


Second, diplomatic ties with Iran should be severed, and all Iranian diplomats should be expelled from EU member states. Draconian sanctions targeting Iran's oil and gas industries, as well as its military institutions, must be enforced to cripple the regime's ability to finance terrorist activities and its support for rogue regimes such as China and Russia.


Furthermore, in light of Iran's support for Russia's aggression in Ukraine, European leaders must send a clear and unequivocal message that military action against Iran's military sites and critical infrastructure, including oil and gas facilities, is on the table. Such a measure is necessary to demonstrate the EU's resolve in confronting state-sponsored terrorism and protecting global peace and security.


In conclusion, the EU's continued trade with Iran not only undermines its own security interests but also perpetuates violence and instability in the Middle East and beyond. It is a must that the EU takes decisive action to cut off the flow of funds to Iran and hold its regime accountable for its support of terrorism and international aggression. Only through robust and coordinated efforts can the EU effectively counter the Iranian regime's malign activities and safeguard the stability and security of the Middle East, Europe and the Free World.



For this article in pdf, please click here:


The EU's Complicity in Financing the Iranian Regime - by Majid Rafizadeh for the Gatestone
.
Download • 164KB

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US Foreign Policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu



© 2024 Gatestone Institute. All rights reserved. The articles printed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or of Gatestone Institute. No part of the Gatestone website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied or modified, without the prior written consent of Gatestone Institute. 




9 views0 comments

コメント


bottom of page