With the relaxation of sanctions on the Islamic Republic, European governments and corporations, ignoring the ethical and national-security consequences, have rushed to arrange for all kinds of trade and investment. Giulio Maria Terzi writes:
Italy has led the way. Following the former prime minister Matteo Renzi’s example, government ministers have announced dozens of initiatives and programs with their Iranian counterparts. These initiatives involve not only trade but also defense. The Italian navy, for example, has carried out joint anti-piracy exercises with Iran. . . .
Major sectors of the Iranian economy are dominated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, an internationally recognized terrorist organization. . . . It is difficult to do business in the country without enriching the armed group and its front companies and helping to support its activities, which include kidnapping, politically motivated arrests, terrorism, cyber espionage, and cyber terrorism. Iran’s Western partners risk having blood on their hands. . . .
Iranian officials who should be indicted for crimes against humanity are instead attending meetings with European governments. The Continent’s leaders seem to be ignoring Tehran’s repeated, explicit threats against the state of Israel, its support of international terrorism and Islamic extremism, and its involvement in crimes against humanity in Syria.
In Iran, Europe’s silence is taken as encouragement; it has emboldened the mullahs to persist with abuses, even in the face of rising dissent and anger among the Iranian people, particularly the youth. Challenges to the regime’s aggression abroad and violence against its own citizens cannot be expected to come from anywhere within the regime itself. They will only come if brave Iranian activists and the international community work together to put pressure toward progress.